The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) was created to promote equal access to justice by providing funding assistance to civil legal aid programs that exist in every congressional district. Without access to the legal services funded by LSC, low-income Americans could not afford to get help resolving serious legal problems that affect their lives and economic stability. Most cases involve family issues (e.g. domestic violence, custody, guardianship, addiction), housing and foreclosure, consumer and employment disputes, and legal problems arising from natural disasters and they need immediate attention.
The COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the country is the latest example of how important adequate LSC funding is. Nearly one million low-income Americans who seek help for civil legal problems are turned away each year for lack of adequate resources. That number grows during emergencies like natural disasters and COVID- 19. The pandemic has already caused a significant increase in the need for legal help with evictions and unemployment, lack of access to health care, scams aimed at the elderly, and temporary restraining orders needed to protect survivors of domestic violence and people need help with these challenges.
The ABA has fiercely advocated for LSC funding for decades and we must do so again this year. On March 19, we sent a letter supporting LSC’s supplemental emergency funding request to help address the increasing legal needs caused or made worse by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On March 27, Congress once again showed its substantial bipartisan support for LSC funding by passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) which includes $50 million for LSC. This is great news, but substantially more funding is needed.
How YOU Can Help This Year!
On April 22nd and 23rd, from 11am to 12:30 pm, we urge you to join the ABA and Governmental Affairs Office for #ABADay Digital. We were, unfortunately, forced to cancel the in-person portion of ABA Day, but the ABA will instead host #ABADay Digital 2020 as our first ever fully-online annual advocacy event.
Thousands of bar leaders, attorneys, law students and other legal professionals can add their voices to enhance our collective efforts by quickly sending preformatted emails or social media messages directly to their Members of Congress on each of our advocacy issues, including funding for LSC. Each of these messages can be edited and personalized for more impact.
Just log on to the #ABADay Digital website and see links to take action quickly to support LSC funding for FY 2021 and have an immediate impact on policymakers making important decisions on Capitol Hill.
More opportunities to engage
In addition to sending messages to Congress, ABA Day participants with more time are encouraged to join live panels, TEDtalk-like presentations, Twitter takeovers, Tweetstorms, and more, punctuated with specific advocacy actions throughout the day.
As one of the ABA’s highest advocacy priorities, we will host several events focusing on LSC funding during the April 22nd LSC segment. First, we will have a live panel discussion on “Legal Aid During a Pandemic.” We will then walk you through different ways to take action to influence policymakers in Congress, whether from your desk, regardless of where that is these days, or during in-district meetings. The LSC segment will close with a live Q&A session over Twitter, called a Twitterchat.
For more details on LSC funding events and other #ABADay Digital activities, click here.