Law Day 2010: Statement of John G. Levi, Chairman, Board of Directors, Legal Services Corporation

April 30, 2010

Washington, DC -- Every year on May 1, the nation celebrates Law Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day in 1958 as "a day of national dedication to the principle of government under law."

The theme for this year's observance is Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges. The Legal Services Corporation fulfills the national pledge of equal justice, assisting low-income Americans who otherwise would not have access to our civil legal system. As millions more Americans find themselves at risk of slipping into poverty because of the current weak economy, the mission becomes ever more important.

In these challenging times, all of us in the legal profession must act so that justice is more than just an idea. Access to legal aid helps people maintain their livelihoods, helps victims of domestic violence obtain protective orders, helps keep people in their homes and helps protect the elderly and others from being victimized. Civil legal assistance helps build strong and stable communities across this nation.

The Legal Services Corporation has a never-ending responsibility to speak up for those in need. In providing low-income Americans with access to our legal system, we hopefully help win their confidence in the judicial system, in our government and in the promise of America.

 As Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. said, "Equal justice under law is not merely a caption on the facade of the Supreme Court building, it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. It is one of the ends for which our entire legal system is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status."

On this Law Day, please join us in spending a few moments reflecting on one of the nation's founding principles -- equal justice for all. Those of us who are in the legal profession have a special responsibility to uphold this ideal. Millions of Americans depend upon civil legal assistance. We cannot let them down