Legal Services Corporation to Launch Emerging Leaders Council to Spotlight Legal Aid Crisis

February 5, 2019

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is forming an Emerging Leaders Council to raise public awareness of the current crisis in legal aid and the importance of ensuring access to justice for all Americans. The group will include some of the country’s rising leaders from diverse industries.

Each year, millions of Americans are unable to obtain legal assistance when it comes to critical civil matters, from evictions to child custody to protection orders against abusers. Many legal aid groups are forced to turn away at least half of the people who come to them seeking help because of a lack of funding. 

The Emerging Leaders Council will work to bring attention to this crisis in civil legal aid. Members will lend their voices and expertise to enhancing LSC’s message by participating in congressional briefings, speaking publicly about civil legal aid’s value, penning op-eds, and undertaking outreach activities. The group’s efforts will complement the work of LSC’s existing Leaders Council, formed in 2016. Kenneth C. Frazier, CEO of the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., and Harriet Miers, a partner at Locke Lord and former White House Counsel to President George W. Bush, serve as Co-Chairs of the Leaders Council.

Kristen Sonday, founder of Paladin PBC, and Brad Robertson, partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, will serve as Co-Chairs of the Emerging Leaders Council. Council members will be drawn from business, law, government, academia, and other fields.

“The Emerging Leaders Council—a group of multitalented individuals who are rising stars in their communities—will help LSC spread the message about the serious crisis across our country in access to our civil justice system,” said LSC Chairman John G. Levi. “Their voices and leadership will further our ability to involve and attract significant attention regarding this crisis beyond the traditional legal aid community.”

Council members will meet regularly to discuss ways to highlight legal aid’s importance and expand access to justice for low-income Americans. Members will also support private fundraising efforts and bring greater attention to the work of LSC and its 132 legal aid programs that LSC funds across the country.

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.