Access to Justice

Legal Aid of Nebraska (LAN) is the only free civil legal services law firm in the state. Meanwhile, over 326,800 Nebraskans (18% of the state's population) are low-income and qualify for LAN's services. Many in this population struggle with basic food and shelter needs. In fact 106,834 Nebraskan households are food insecure. Of this already economically vulnerable population qualifying for LAN's services, over 11,700 are children, 35,800 are elderly, and 54,200 are disabled.

By removing legal barriers and providing education about legal rights, LAN's services have been shown to directly improve the lives of its clients. But additionally, these improvements have been shown to have a positive ripple effect on clients' lives along a range of measured social outcomes. In a recent study conducted by LAN, and represented in this soundscape, surveyed respondents who received LAN's services reported that their lives had improved along a range of outcomes, regardless of whether the outcome was directly related to their original legal problem. These improvements were shown at a statistically significantly higher rate than a group of surveyed low-income people who had not received LAN's services.

Based on the results of this study, this soundscape was created. Specifically, the musical lines were grouped according to the legal problems about which the surveyed group contacted LAN: divorce, custody, child support, domestic violence, housing, bankruptcy, public benefits, and health/medical. The frequency with which notes are articulated were calculated based on the number of people facing each of the legal problems such that more people facing a particular problem resulted in more frequent tone articulations. The pitch was calculated according to the difference in rated improvement to a particular outcome between the group that received LAN's services and the group that did not. Therefore, higher pitches indicate a larger effect of LAN's services. As the soundscape progresses in time, the results of different outcomes are presented. The pitches for each outcome were calculated based on the pitch from the previous outcome such that by the end of the soundscape the pitches represent a cumulative effect.