Representatives Ted Deutch and Debbie Dingell and Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack Join LSC for Two Days of Access to Justice Events

October 23, 2019

ANN ARBOR, MI – Distinguished jurists and leaders from the legal community will gather on Friday, October 25, for the Legal Services Corporation’s (LSC) Forum on Increasing Access to Justice. The event will feature two panels highlighting the difference legal aid can make in the lives of low-income individuals and communities. 

Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, a longtime leader in improving access to justice, will provide opening remarks. Representative Ted Deutch (FL-22), University of Michigan Law School Dean Mark D. West, and LSC Chair John G. Levi will also be speaking.

Chief Justice McCormack will moderate the first panel, “Housing and Eviction Defense.”
Three Michigan cities – Detroit, Lansing, and Warren – have been ranked among the top hundred large American cities with the highest rates of court-ordered evictions. The panelists will explore the importance of legal representation to families facing the threat of eviction and other pressing housing issues. The panelists will include Chris Baumgartner, Managing Attorney, Indiana Legal Services - Fort Wayne; Judge Thomas P. Boyd, 55th District Court of Michigan; and Elizabeth (Liza) Rios, Managing Attorney, Legal Services of South Central Michigan-Lansing, Michigan Advocacy Program.

A second panel, “How Expungements Affect Employment,” will focus on the ways expungement removes barriers to career and educational opportunities for eligible persons and benefits low-income individuals and families. The panelists will include Jessica Beheydt, Skadden Fellow, Indiana Legal Services; Herb Fluker, Career Advisor, Michigan Works! Southeast; Letitia (Tish) Lee, Managing Attorney, Legal Services of South Central Michigan-Washtenaw, Michigan Advocacy Program; and Judge Michelle M. Rick, Chief Judge Pro Tem of the 29th Circuit Court of Michigan. LSC Vice President and General Counsel Ronald Flagg will serve as moderator.

LSC Board Member Father Pius Pietrzyk will provide closing remarks.

Later that day, Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-12) will speak at a luncheon sponsored by the Michigan Bar Foundation at Michigan Advocacy Program’s new offices.

The following day, LSC Chair John G. Levi and LSC President James J. Sandman will be among those recognized by Michigan Athletics prior to the Notre Dame v. Michigan football game. University of Michigan Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh is a member of LSC’s Leaders Council, which works to raise public awareness of the current crisis in legal aid. 

Rep. Dingell will join Levi and Sandman on the field along with members of LSC’s Board of Directors, including Robert J. Grey Jr., Matthew Keenan, Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, Victor B. Maddox, John G. Malcolm, Laurie Mikva, and Father Pius Pietrzyk, O.P. Jon Laramore, Executive Director of Indiana Legal Services, and Ann Routt, Executive Director of Michigan Advocacy Program, will also be recognized. 

Before the game, LSC will host a reception at Zingerman’s Greyline from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at 100 N. Ashley Street. Levi, Maddox, and Sandman will provide welcoming remarks. They will be joined by Larrmore and Routt who will discuss legal aid’s importance to low-income individuals and families.

The forum will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the University of Michigan Law School in Room 100, Hutchins Hall, 625 South State Street. Members of the press are invited to attend.

The event will also be livestreamed via Facebook Live. To view it, visit
LSC’s Facebook page, or follow the conversation on Twitter at #LSCforum.

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.