With 63 million Americans—including 22 million children—qualifying for assistance, LSC is the nation’s single largest provider of civil legal aid to citizens who live on incomes below or near the poverty line. Independent LSC-funded local programs, such as South Carolina Legal Services, help meet the overwhelming legal needs of struggling families, veterans, disaster victims and the elderly, among others, in every state. In 2010, LSC-funded aid providers in South Carolina closed nearly 6,000 cases including child custody matters, foreclosures and veterans claims.
A tireless and passionate supporter of LSC and other legal service organizations throughout South Carolina, Cauthen helps organize his state’s presence and message to elected representatives in Washington, D.C., surrounding this issue. Last year, Cauthen worked to prevent a potentially devastating $104.2 million (25.7 percent) proposed cut to the LSC budget of $404.2 million in fiscal year 2010. While the House of Representatives proposed funding LSC at $300 million, the Senate favored an allocation of $396 million. Ultimately, funding was set at $348 million, in part due to Cauthen’s efforts.
“Being recognized by the American Bar Association for advocacy involving the Legal Services Corporation is a true honor,” Cauthen said. “I have been a fan of Legal Services grantees since I began practicing law.”
Cauthen’s ties to legal services were strengthened through his tenure with Nelson Mullins. “I am pleased to work at a law firm like Nelson Mullins where pro bono and public service are a core part of our culture,” he explains. “Without a fully funded Legal Services Corporation, there is no justice for all in this country.”
“George’s advocacy on behalf of legal services and the people of South Carolina who need access to justice is simply heroic,” said ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III.
Cauthen will receive one of the five ABA Grassroots Advocacy Awards that will be given as part of the ABA’s annual effort to connect policymakers with constituents in the legal profession. ABA Day 2012 brings distinguished lawyers from 50 states to Washington, D.C., to discuss issues such as funding for the Legal Services Corporation, the Violence Against Women Act, and the collection of overdue state court ordered fees.
Other recipients of the 2012 ABA Grassroots Advocacy Awards include L. Jonathan Ross, Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer; The State Bar of Michigan; the Supreme Court of Texas; and Betty Balli Torres, Texas Access to Justice Foundation.
Please click here for a photo of George Cauthen.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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