LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION

ABA mobilizes to protect federal funding for LSC

Hundreds of lawyers from across the country are coming to Washington, D.C., next month to remind their senators and representatives about the value of legal aid in their communities.

California Rep. Mike Thompson (left) discussed legal services funding with ABA representatives during ABA Day 2018.

California Rep. Mike Thompson (left) discussed legal services funding with ABA representatives during ABA Day 2018.

Each year, about 350 lawyers – representing all 50 states – come to ABA Day on Capitol Hill to make the case for the most important issues facing the legal community. This year, as in years past, they will meet with their state’s representatives and ask for continued federal funding of the Legal Services Corporation, which is threatened by the White House. The event is April 9-11.

On March 18, for the third straight year, the White House proposed eliminating funding of LSC, saying the effort is “part of the Administration’s plans to move the Nation toward fiscal responsibility and to redefine the proper role of the Federal Government.” President Richard Nixon signed the bill that created LSC in 1974.

LSC supports more than 800 legal aid offices across the country, serving every congressional district. Legal aid lawyers help indigent domestic assault survivors, disaster victims, seniors, veterans and others find legal solutions to their everyday problems.

In the past two years, members of Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – have rejected the White House proposal and instead increased federal funding of LSC from $385 million to $415 million. It is not nearly enough. Roughly 86 percent of all civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans receive no help or inadequate help, according to the 2017 “Justice Gap” report from LSC.

The ABA fully supports LSC’s request for $593 million to ensure that more individuals can access the justice system.

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