LSC Briefing: The COVID-19 Health Crisis, Civil Legal Needs, and State Courts

The Legal Serves Corporation held a virtual briefing on The COVID-19 Health Crisis, Civil Legal Needs, and State Courts on Monday, April 20, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. ET.

The COVID-19 global pandemic seriously impacts low-income Americans’ legal needs. COVID-19 is expected to cause a significant spike in the need for legal services, with the current record unemployment filing rates leading to a deluge of evictions among clients that LSC-funded legal aid organizations serve. Legal services will be essential to low-income families unable to access healthcare and seniors who are victims of scams. Numerous jurisdictions are already reporting increases in domestic violence rates due to the stress and isolation associated with economic distress and COVID-19 prevention efforts, and LSC’s grantees play a critical role in helping clients obtain protective orders.

To compound these problems, many LSC grantees are facing significant funding cuts as they brace for a dramatic increase in the demand for their services. Court systems are also having to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak. Courts across the country are restricting access to prevent the spread of the virus while struggling to maintain essential court services.

Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, Representative Fred Upton (MI-6) and Representative Joe Kennedy (MA-4) provided remarks during the briefing. They were joined by American Bar Association (ABA) President Judy Perry Martinez who shared updates on the ABA’s COVID-19 Task Force. LSC Board Chair John G. Levi also offered remarks.