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About Us


Our clients are made up of the more than 14% of South Dakotans living in poverty. For these people, justice is not an abstract concept, but reality. It is food, shelter, and protection. It is the difference between staying in poverty and getting out; living in danger or in safety; between dependence and self-reliance. East River Legal Services (ERLS) is dedicated to the belief that no one should be denied access to justice because of poverty.


We will review incoming cases and eligible clients on individual merit. Priority will be placed on a) victims of domestic violence; b) family law including protection orders, child custody, divorce; c) Section 8 housing and eviction cases, particularly cases involving disabled individuals, children and seniors; and d) seniors.


Advancing equal access to justice for our most vulnerable citizens of eastern South Dakota.


ERLS is committed to being a leader in providing high-quality, meaningful legal assistance focused on transforming the lives of our clients and our community.


Our values are the foundation of our culture. The values communicate to all ERLS clients, staff, board members, and partners how we expect to conduct ourselves in our day-to-day business activities.

RESPECT. We treat clients, one another, and our strategic partners with respect. We show respect by valuing others’ opinion, working together regardless of position, and listening to understand.

JUSTICE. We seek justice for our clients both in and outside the courtroom.

COMPASSION. We put ourselves in the shoes of our clients.

DIGNITY. We acknowledge and honor the value and dignity of all our clients and peers. We respect ethnic backgrounds, religious traditions, and all that makes us unique.

PROFESSIONALISM. Every team member represents ERLS and the legal community. We provide high quality legal representation. We show professionalism through our work product, language, and pride inside and outside the office setting.

CUSTOMER SERVICE. Our services are client-focused and we aim to provide seamless support from intake to case closure.

TRANSPARENCY. Our processes and decisions are transparent to our clients, partners, and team.

2017/2018 Annual Report

2017 ERLS 990