July 30, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC -- The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) today released its 2009 Annual Report, which recounts the founding of LSC in 1974 and its evolution into the nation's single largest funder of civil legal assistance to promote equal access to justice and to ensure the provision of high-quality civil legal aid to low-income Americans.
The annual report, "LSC: 35 Years as America's Partner for Equal Justice," charts the Corporation's path to independence from 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson began the "war on poverty," to July 25, 1974, when President Richard M. Nixon signed the LSC Act, establishing the Corporation. The report also includes statistical data on critical legal services provided to clients of LSC-funded programs across the nation. During 2009, a time of high unemployment and a weak economy that pushed many more Americans into poverty, LSC provided $365.8 million in grants and related support to 136 independent nonprofit legal aid programs that deliver civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families.
The LSC programs closed 920,447 civil legal aid cases in 2009. The number of unemployment compensation cases grew by 63 percent and food-stamp cases increased by 37 percent. Requests for assistance with foreclosure actions also increased, and LSC programs closed more than twice as many foreclosure cases as in 2008.
LSC programs help victims of domestic violence, families trying to avoid unlawful eviction and disabled persons wrongly denied benefits, LSC President Victor M. Fortuno wrote in the annual report. "Many were facing a life-changing legal problem that would determine their prospects for stability and self-sufficiency or propel them into a downward spiral with little hope of avoiding a grim future," he wrote.
John G. Levi, Chairman of the LSC Board of Directors, and President Fortuno praised the thousands of attorneys, private and public, who represent and advise low-income Americans with pressing civil legal problems.
"The legal services provided through LSC make a meaningful difference in the lives of tens of millions of low-income Americans," LSC Chairman Levi wrote. "Every day, legal aid attorneys across the nation can be counted on to ensure their clients are treated with fairness in the resolution of their civil legal problems. I thank them for their invaluable service."
Download the 2009 Annual Report. ( 4.82 mb)