The CAC advances its mission through a free community lawyer model focused on two broad concepts. The first concept is empowering community members by building their civic skills and confidence to impact government decision-making on self-identified issues of public concern. The second concept is pushing public institutions toward greater accountability, transparency and accessibility by breaking down barriers to the various laws and civic tools that enable participation in the democratic process (such as access to those related to public participation, open government, government-held information, the ballot, the airwaves, and the courts). CAC's Brochures on Community Lawyering & Program Areas and Impacts
Answering Questions of Public Concern: Helping individuals and community groups understand the government decision-making process, how to use the various laws and tools that ensure access to government, organize community campaigns and effectively advocate for a cause are important components of CAC's work. The CAC is a hub for civic information, assistance, and support. Our community lawyers use their skills to teach how one person can make a difference through providing legal and civic technical assistance, civic networking, facilitating workshops, and advocacy planning. On an annual basis, our community lawyers answer more than 200 inquiries from the public on matters of public concern.
Education, Training, & Resources: The CAC builds civic and legal knowledge as well as the motivation to participate in the democratic process. The CAC provides a diverse array of opportunities for citizens to “practice” democracy through hands-on training for adults, educational brochures, community forums, and the professional development of educators, public officials, and lawyers. Specific resources include the following:
Monitoring Government Activity: CACholds open the doors of government by monitoring government meetings, making recommendations that increase accountability and transparency, and taking action to remove anti-democratic policies and procedures.
Advocacy to Strengthen Laws & Institutions:The CAC ensures that government institutions serve the public interest. The CAC advocates from the local to the state level on various issues related to accessing the democratic process and advancing justice through issue campaigns and coalitions, filing administrative appeals, and, only as a last resort, filing impact litigation on select citizen causes.