Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland Join Business and Legal Aid Leaders for LSC’s Access to Justice Forum

July 31, 2020

WASHINGTON – Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-1) and leaders from the business and legal communities will join the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) on Wednesday, August 5, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. EDT for a virtual forum on ways of expanding access to justice for low-income Americans amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rep. Haaland and LSC Board Chair John G. Levi will provide opening remarks on the value of legal aid and how legal services organizations are responding to the pressures of COVID-19. 

The pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on the health and economies of Indigenous communities. One recent study shows that American Indians and Native Alaskans are hospitalized at rates more than five times that of white people.

The first panel, “Delivering Legal Services to Indigenous Communities during COVID-19,” will highlight the unique challenges facing these populations and the added threats the pandemic presents. The panelists include Dr. Melissa N. Begay, Physician and Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico Department of Pulmonary, Sleep, & Critical Care; Stephanie Hudson, Executive Director, Oklahoma Indian Legal Services; Rudy Sanchez, Executive Director, DNA People’s Legal Services; and Anthony Young, Executive Director, Southern Arizona Legal Aid. Nikole Nelson, Alaska Legal Services Corporation’s Executive Director, will moderate the discussion. 

Following the panel discussion, American Bar Association (ABA) President Patricia Lee Refo will discuss the ABA's efforts to address the risks COVID-19 poses to access to justice.

A second panel, “The Business Community’s Role in Increasing Access to Justice,” will feature business leaders from prominent American companies discussing legal aid’s role in supporting their organizations’ pro bono efforts and how an accessible justice system benefits the business community. The panelists include Kate Adams, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Apple; Ivan Fong, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, 3M; Bill Neukom, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, World Justice Project; Laura Stein, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, The Clorox Company; and Teresa Wynn Roseborough, Executive Vice President - General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Home Depot. LSC President Ronald S. Flagg will serve as moderator.

 Sen. Sinema and Judge Diane J. Humetewa, United States District Court for the District of Arizona, will speak next on the challenges COVID-19 is posing to low-income Americans and to the justice system. LSC Vice Chair Father Pius Pietrzyk will provide closing remarks.

To join the forum via Zoom, use meeting ID 817-1463-6463 and password Justice74. The event will also be livestreamed on LSC’s Facebook page. You can follow the conversation on Twitter with #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.