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Here you will find information on how CIR came to fruition and an overview to help you better understand what this system is, who is involved, and how it will work for clients.

DC residents who face life-altering situations and need help navigating legal aid far too often have a difficult time getting the assistance they need. The process of going through legal aid can be cumbersome and lengthy. It’s a complex system that makes finding legal help a daunting task. Issues many have experienced include ending up at an organization that can’t service their issue or finding out they are ineligible for services. With so many organizations, lack of clarity, different eligibility criteria, and having to reshare their stories too many times, many who need help never reach the door of a legal service provider.

The DC Bar Foundation is committed to creating a civil legal aid system in DC that is easily accessible with seamless processes.

Our work is centered on ensuring that access to our civil justice system does not depend on wealth, knowledge, or power. With these ideals being the driving force of our work, we are creating a Coordinated Intake and Referral (CIR) System to streamline access to legal services for DC residents. The District of Columbia has more than 50 civil legal aid providers and this system will increase coordination among providers, which, in turn, will create an easier process for those seeking assistance. 


For decades, the District’s civil legal aid community has struggled with how to create a more fair and just system. The Foundation approached earlier efforts through our grants program. Then, in 2020, we tried something different: we partnered with Joseph Schieffer, a consultant with expertise in developing coordinated legal aid systems in other parts of the country, to research our community and past efforts and recommend a strategy. His work resulted in a December 2020 concept paper that became the basis for this current effort. 


Following the release of the concept paper, the DC Bar Foundation has continued to seek feedback from various stakeholders throughout the civil legal aid system and refine the concept as we learn more. Recognizing the impossibility of relying solely on individual and small group conversations, in late 2021, we sought input and feedback from stakeholders about the structure and design of the anticipated Coordinated Intake and Referral System. More than 20 organizations and individuals responded to the request.


Join the Upcoming CIR Chat!

The Coordinated Intake and Referral (CIR) System is a user-centered system that will allow DC residents to access civil legal aid seamlessly and efficiently. Our goal throughout this process is to work collaboratively with the DC legal aid community and give you opportunities to provide feedback and offer suggestions. 

Our most recent CIR Chat took place on May 15, 2024. A2J Tech CEO Joseph Schieffer demonstrated how to enter an intake into the CIR System. You can view the recording on our YouTube page.

The next CIR Chat will take place in June 2024--stay tuned to this page for the registration link!

Questions or Comments?

If you have questions or comments about the Coordinated Intake and Referral System, please send an email to  

Coordinated Intake Referral FAQs

What is Coordinated Intake and Referral?

A streamlined process for DC residents to access legal aid through a single phone number or website. It does not replace existing intake structures; it supplements them.

Do You Still Have Questions or Comments About CIR?

Do you have questions or comments about the Coordinated Intake and Referral (CIR) System, we'd love to hear from you! Please send an email to  

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