How Legal Aid Works

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. LSC promotes equal access to justice by providing funding to 134 independent non-profit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. LSC grantees serve thousands of low-income individuals, children, families, seniors, and veterans in 813 offices in every congressional district. Read more about the vital role legal aid plays in a just America.

Fulfills Critical Need at Low Cost

Investing in civil legal aid provides access to justice—a fundamental American value, reflected in the first line of our Constitution and in the closing words of our Pledge of Allegiance. The need for civil legal assistance has never been greater. Today, low-income Americans continue to struggle to keep their jobs, stay in their homes, and provide basic necessities for their families. Without adequate funding for legal aid, low-income Americans will be unable to access courts effectively to protect their legitimate legal interests.

Assures Fairness in the Justice System

Civil legal aid provides access to legal help for people to protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families. Civil legal aid makes it easier to access information through easy-to-understand forms, legal assistance, representation, and self-help centers to enable people to know their rights – regardless of their income.

Provides Critical Constituent Services

LSC grantees help constituents who live in households with annual incomes at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. LSC-funded legal aid ensures that eligible constituents will not have to navigate the legal system alone. Eligible clients include the working poor, veterans and military families, homeowners and renters, families with children, farmers, the disabled, and the elderly.

“Justice for only those who can afford it is neither justice for all nor justice at all.”
Access to justice is not an abstract right…Congress can help Americans live safer, more productive lives by giving them access to legal aid.
“When the great majority of the individuals and small businesses of the nation no longer can, or believe they no longer can, get a lawyer, be represented effectively, go to court, settle their disputes in a fair and impartial way, and be treated like every other citizen, we quite simply, have lost the guiding principle of our republic—equal justice under law. When that goes, the rule of law goes, and when that goes, the great dreams of those patriots who founded and fought for this republic go with it—never to be reclaimed. Something must be done!
“798 years ago … the Magna Carta established that no man, even a king – or in our constitutional system, a President – is or should be above the law. In a sense, the enterprise that all of you are engaged in is achieving the equal but converse principle – that just as no person should be above the law, no person should be below it.”

Updates

The Legal Services Corporation Launches Pilot Program to Increase Access to Justice

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the country’s largest funder of civil legal aid programs for low-income people, is...Read more

Legal Aid’s Importance to American Business: Four Corporate General Counsels Brief Congress

WASHINGTON – Four general counsels from leading American companies will gather April 20 on Capitol Hill for a congressional briefing on the...Read more

Legal Profession Loses Pro Bono Visionary: Esther F. Lardent

WASHINGTON – Esther F. Lardent will be remembered as a tireless champion for equal access to justice, Legal Services Corporation President James...Read more

LSC President Jim Sandman's Address at Voices for Justice Event

LSC President Jim Sandman served as the keynote speaker at the Voices for Justice annual fundraiser. The event, held at the the Richard Nixon...Read more

Client Participation in Program Quality Visits

The Legal Services Corporation is pleased to announce a pilot project in which individuals eligible for services as clients at LSC-funded legal...Read more

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