This year we were proud to honor the Preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness Coalition with the ABA Grassroots Advocacy Award at the live-streamed event on Tuesday morning. “The Preserve PSLF Coalition has distinguished itself as the central voice and catalyst for action in preserving and strengthening the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program,” said ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross.
In light of recent reports that Congress may try to reduce funding levels across the government, we focused our primary advocacy ask on increased funding for the Legal Services Corporation, which provides federal grants to civil legal aid offices nationwide.
LSC President Ron Flagg spoke passionately about how hard legal aid offices work to help low-income Americans with their increasing legal needs, especially in the wake of the global pandemic, but with current funding, they can only meet about half that need. He also acknowledged that ABA Day advocacy by bar association leaders and members over the last 26 years has had a significantly positive impact in helping to increase available LSC funding.
The Co-Chairs of the Access to Legal Aid Caucus Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Mary Gay Scanlon, Vice-Chair of the caucus Rep. Kelly Armstrong, and Senators Tim Kaine, John Cornyn and Dick Durbin all sent messages stressing the importance of LSC funding and civil legal aid offices nationwide and thanking our advocates for their help. Legal aid clients, attorneys, and ABA members also shared their views on why legal professionals should help.
In addition to the primary advocacy ask, ABA members on Capitol Hill and all over the country also spent time introducing themselves and the ABA to the almost 90 new Members of Congress and congressional leaders. Building these relationships does not end with ABA Day though, and we urge advocates to continue reaching out in the months ahead. You can find more information on how to follow up here.
It’s also not too late to urge Congress to support robust funding for LSC. Take action here.