Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

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Cy Pres Awards

What is Cy Pres?

Guidelines for Designation of Cy Pres Recipients:

The doctrine of cy pres, or fluid recovery, allows litigants to request courts to distribute unclaimed or residual funds in class action settlements and judgments and certain other actions to non-profit organizations based on the following broad guidelines. Courts annually approve millions of dollars in cy pres funds to non-profit organizations like ours that engage in access to justice initiatives for underserved communities, which has been crucial to our ability to continue our important work.

California, like many other states, has enacted a statute that specifically states that organizations that provide legal aid and other access to justice initiatives are appropriate recipients of cy pres funds. In cases brought in California courts, the statute allows courts to direct unclaimed funds from class action recoveries to non-profit organizations that engage in programs that will benefit the class or similarly situated persons, that promote the law consistent with the objectives of the underlying case, or that provide legal services to the indigent – any one of these bases is sufficient to approve a cy pres designation.

Federal courts also have broad discretion under the cy pres doctrine to equitably distribute unclaimed class action funds to the “next best” alternative, which invariably includes organizations that engage in access to justice initiatives. Federal courts routinely approve as cy pres recipients non-profit legal organizations that provide legal services and engage in other access to justice initiatives for underserved communities, and whose work has a nexus to the underlying issues in the case.

In non-class action suits, or prior to class certification, settling parties can direct all or part of the settlement payments to a cy pres recipient.

Advocating for Access to Justice for Our Communities

Cy pres funds are especially important for supporting all of our access to justice initiatives, including direct legal services and impact litigation work. Unlike many of our other funding sources, cy pres awards are unrestricted. This has allowed us to direct cy pres funds to our important and groundbreaking legal representation of individuals and groups who otherwise would not have access to the legal system to vindicate their rights. We rely on cy pres funds to be able to continue this invaluable work.

With the assistance of individual attorneys, in-house counsel, law firms, and class action practitioners, we have received cy pres awards that have helped build a powerhouse legal team to provide access to justice for low-income, disadvantaged, and underserved communities. Our cases have increased equal educational opportunity, challenged employment discrimination, fought sweatshops and other exploitative wages and working conditions, and exposed fraudulent practices aimed at vulnerable and limited-English-proficient consumers. Cy pres awards will help us continue this important work.

Ways to Help Advancing Justice – LA Receive Cy Pres Awards

Law firms and individual supporters in the legal community can help us receive cy pres awards. This does not require you to ask anyone to donate money or time. Here are ways you can assist us:

  • If you, your firm, or someone you know is party to or counsel on a class action case involving potential cy pres awards, you may help nominate our organization as an awardee.
  • Familiarize yourself with our work and help us outreach to the courts and class action attorneys about our access to justice initiatives, civil rights advocacy, legal services, and litigation on behalf of low-wage workers and vulnerable consumers.
  • If you become aware of cy pres awards through word of mouth or published notices, please let us know about the opportunities.
  • For more information on how you can help increase legal services and advance civil rights with cy pres awards, please contact:
Laboni Hoq
Litigation Director
(213) 977-7500 x257
[email protected]

Advancing Justice - Los Angeles’ Mission

Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, formerly known as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, was founded in 1983 and is the largest organization in the country focused on meeting the civil and human rights needs of the poor and marginalized segments of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities – the nation’s fastest-growing populations. We accomplish this through various access to justice initiatives. Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. We serve more than 15,000 individuals and organizations each year through direct services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and leadership development. Each of our program areas seeks to serve the most vulnerable and needy members of our society, while also building a strong Asian American and NHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.

Our Diverse Programs Make a Difference

Our diverse programs make us an excellent cy pres recipient. Advancing Justice – LA is a unique organization that merges the work of a traditional legal services provider and a civil rights organization. To achieve our goals of justice and equality, we focus our work on four program areas:

Direct Services

Impact Litigation

Policy Analysis and Advocacy

Leadership Development

Key Impact Cases

Consumer Fraud

We have successfully represented diverse plaintiffs—including Chinese, Filipino, and Korean Americans; young families; and elderly veterans—in cases ranging from foreclosure rescue scams to deceptive sales practices.

Confronting Discrimination

We have successfully litigated cases seeking to remedy various forms of race, religious, and national origin discrimination on behalf of Asian Americans and other communities of color.

Advocating for Workers' Rights

Our groundbreaking workers’ rights litigation is based on a model of litigating for social change, in which workers are involved in case decision-making and strategizing. This client-centered model has led to significant Advancing Justice - LA victories, including increasing corporate accountability for sweatshop conditions in the garment industry, as well as systemic change, with the passage of Assembly Bill 633, the nation’s strongest anti-sweatshop law.

Challenging Unconstitutional Laws

We have participated in major civil rights cases challenging unconstitutional laws that target immigrants and communities of color in coalition with other civil rights groups.

Our Impact Litigation Team



Our helplines prioritize assistance to low-income persons in the following areas of law: discrimination, family, immigration, public benefits, employment, housing, and civil rights. 

English: 888.349.9695
中文: 800.520.2356
한글: 800.867.3640
Tagalog: 855.300.2552
ภาษาไทย: 800.914.9583
Tiếng Việt: 714.477.2958


Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.