Milestone for LSC: 35 Years Championing Equal Access to Justice

July 22, 2009

July 22, 2009


Washington, DC -- On July 25, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) will celebrate 35 years of providing dedicated federal funding for the delivery of civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families across the nation.

Established by Congress and President Richard M. Nixon on July 25, 1974, LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal aid for the poor. LSC, which operates as a nonprofit corporation, provides federal funds to 137 independent nonprofit organizations with more than 900 offices in the United States and U.S. territories.

"The work of legal aid programs is more important than ever before, as the recession puts more Americans at risk of losing their jobs, homes and access to health care," LSC President Helaine M. Barnett said. "Going forward, we must champion public and private efforts to ensure equal access to justice, a bedrock principle of our great democracy."

Frank B. Strickland, chairman of the LSC Board of Directors, said, "We deeply appreciate the bipartisan support of the Congress. Civil legal aid helps low-income individuals avert evictions and foreclosures, escape domestic violence and recover from hurricanes and other disasters. Without a doubt, civil legal aid strengthens communities."

In fiscal year 2009, Congress appropriated $390 million to LSC, and more than 95 percent of the funding was distributed as grants to civil legal aid programs. LSC-funded programs closed 889,155 civil legal aid cases in 2008, with about 10 percent of those handled by private attorneys through pro bono work on behalf of legal aid clients.

The LSC Board of Directors will be holding a regular quarterly meeting on July 24-25 in Topeka, Kansas, where it will visit the statewide program, Kansas Legal Services, at its Topeka office. On the evening of July 24, Kansas Legal Services will host a reception at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to commemorate LSC's 35th anniversary. At the reception, private attorneys in Kansas will be honored for their pro bono service to the legal aid program.

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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. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.