LSC was founded on a shared American ideal: equal access to justice regardless of one’s economic status. Unfortunately, the financial resources crucial to achieving this goal from the federal government as well as other sources are limited. In particular, economic conditions since 2007 have simultaneously led to a reduction in funding available for legal services and to an increase in need.
It was with this challenge in mind that, in 2012, the LSC Board of Directors prepared a plan to set forth strategic goals to guide LSC for five years:
I. LSC’s primary goal is to maximize the availability, quality, and effectiveness of the civil legal services that its grantees provide to low-income individuals.
We pursue this mission by identifying best practices among our grantees and guiding others in replicating those practices. We also promote the development and implementation of technologies so that our grantees can maximize the availability of legal information and assistance at relatively low expense. And we are committed to expanding the availability of civil legal assistance by encouraging our grantees to effectively leverage pro bono services, collaborations with law schools, and other private resources.
II. The second goal in the strategic plan is to become a leading voice for civil legal services for poor Americans.
As the only federally created, national legal services organization, we have both the opportunity and the obligation to play a critical leadership and organizing role in advocating for and securing access to justice for the poor in civil matters. In this regard we are working to increase awareness of the significance and value of civil legal aid, in order to generate public and private financial donations as well as volunteer commitments. We also aim to more closely match resources with needs.
III. Our third goal is to achieve the highest standards of fiscal responsibility both for our own organizations as well as for our grantees.
This is crucial for two reasons. First, Congress entrusts LSC with funds collected from the American taxpayer. To live up to that trust and to justify further confidence, we must be a prudent steward of these resources. Second, our funding is meant to be used in service to the poor. Proper fiscal oversight will allow us to aid more of those in need.