Legal Services Corporation

Overview

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), is the single largest provider of civil legal aid in the nation, distributing 95% of its federal appropriation to 134 legal aid programs, with over 800 offices, nationwide; at least one LSC grantee is present in each of the fifty states. LSC grantees provide direct services to approximately one million constituents who struggle to get by on incomes below or near the poverty line.

Those benefiting from LSC-funded programs are among the most vulnerable Americans, including veterans returning from combat, domestic violence victims, those coping with the after-effects of natural disasters, families involved in child custody disputes, people with disabilities, and individuals undergoing foreclosures or other housing issues. Due to economic conditions, the number of people who qualify for legal services is at an all-time high; over 63.5 million Americans now are eligible for civil legal assistance.

Currently, LSC is funded at $365 million, an increase over the $340 million of FY13, but still a significant reduction from the FY11 level of $404.2 million. The ABA will continue to advocate for high legal services funding in FY15; 67 million Americans are expected to be eligible for legal assistance by the end of FY15. 

The ABA supports strong federal funding for LSC and recommends that Congress allocate the President’s budget request of $430 million for LSC for FY15.  

Key Points

  • The need for legal services for poor Americans has never been greater; 63.5 million Americans currently qualify for legal assistance
  • Already the need for legal aid far outstrips the federal funding that LSC grantees receive, and the country can ill afford a cut to the program during the current economic recession
  • LSC-funded programs help the most vulnerable in our society, including veterans returning from war, domestic violence victims, individuals undergoing foreclosure or other housing issues, those coping with the after-effects of natural disasters and families involved in child custody disputes

ABA Policy

The ABA supports a strong, federally funded, community controlled program to provide legal aid for the poor. The ABA favors substantial private bar involvement in the delivery of legal services and actively encourages pro bono participation by individual attorneys, law firms, and corporate general counsels.

Updated as of:

March 19, 2014

Advertisement