The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
June 29, 2020

More than 200 legal department leaders call on Congress to fund the Legal Services Corporation

For the fourth year in a row, legal department leaders have rallied in support of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the largest funder of civil legal aid in the United States, following a proposal by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to eliminate LSC’s funding for the upcoming fiscal year. 

Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and its global in-house project, Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), invited general counsel and chief legal officers to sign on to a letter advocating for LSC funding for FY2021. 

An impressive group of 204 general counsel and chief legal officers signed on to the June 19, 2020 letter, addressed to All Members of Congress.  GCs and CLOs who lead legal departments of all sizes, representing a wide range of industries, and from locations across the country, joined this effort.  

The support of America’s corporate leaders has made a difference in securing funding for LSC in past years, and their continued support is critically important this year, as the need for civil legal services for low-income Americans continues to grow during the pandemic.  LSC is the cornerstone of ensuring access to justice in the United States, providing resources and financial support to more than 130 legal aid organizations around the country that serve individuals and communities in need, as well as resources for pro bono volunteers from law firms and legal departments. LSC has requested $652.6 million in federal funding for FY2021.

The GCs and CLOs’ letter supporting LSC highlights the need for more funding for LSC to carry out its mission,especially as low-income Americans face the legal consequences of the pandemic. This funding is needed to address the lack of access to justice for many Americans, a “long-simmering problem in the U.S.” 

Last year, a similar effort in response to the budget proposal to eliminate LSC gathered over 260 general counsel and chief legal officers who joined a letter to Congress to support the continued funding of LSC. Following advocacy efforts, Congress and the President ultimately approved a new spending package that increased LSC funding for FY2020.

CPBO is proud to support LSC in this effort to secure funding and thanks the legal department leaders for demonstrating their commitment to legal aid, access to justice, and pro bono legal services. For more information please contact CPBO at cpbo@probonoinst.org.

Read the full letter here.

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