Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request

fy2018Budget-Request-cover Click to download PDF of FY 2018 Budget Request

PREFACE

Dear Chairmen Culberson and Shelby and Ranking Members Serrano and Shaheen:

On behalf of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), I am pleased to provide you with our budget request for Fiscal Year 2018.

In the past, LSC has coordinated delivery of our annual budget request to Congress with the release of the White House’s annual budget request. Because the White House has proposed to eliminate funding for LSC in FY 2018, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide separately the information we believe necessary to inform the congressional appropriations process for LSC.

LSC requests $527.8 million for FY 2018 because of the overwhelming need for civil legal services in the United States. LSC’s bipartisan Board of Directors has determined that the need to increase the number of households served by legal aid is dire. Our $25.1 million increase from over last year’s request is a modest attempt to begin to address that need. As explained in further detail on page 10 of our request, the increased amount will enable LSC grantees to serve 3.35% more people in FY 2018 than in FY 2016.

Currently, 60.6 million Americans, or almost 20% of the U.S. population, are eligible for LSC-funded legal aid services nationwide. The income eligibility requirement—125% of the federal poverty guideline—is $15,075 for an individual and $30,750 for a family of four in 2017. LSC’s current funding of $385 million enabled our grantees to assist only 1.8 million people in all households served in 2016. The gap between the number of people who need legal services and the resources available to meet their needs is enormous.

As the largest single funder of civil legal aid in the country, LSC distributes more than 93% of our federal appropriation to 133 independent legal aid organizations with more than 800 offices serving every county in every state and the territories. LSC’s grantees assist low-income individuals, veterans, children, families, and seniors in every congressional district. They represent victims of domestic violence seeking protection orders, veterans seeking benefits they earned through their military service, homeowners facing wrongful foreclosures, parents seeking child support, and seniors who are victims of consumer scams.

The United States Congress passed the Legal Services Corporation Act with broad bipartisan support in 1974 (276-95 in the House; 77-19 in the Senate). In the Act’s declaration of purpose, Congress found and declared that “there is a need to provide equal access to the system of justice in our Nation for individuals who seek redress of grievances,” that “there is a need to provide high quality legal assistance to those who would be otherwise unable to afford adequate legal counsel, “that “providing legal assistance to those who face an economic barrier to adequate legal counsel will serve best the ends of justice and assist in improving opportunities for low-income persons,” and that “for many of our citizens, the availability of legal services has reaffirmed faith in our government and laws.”

Those statements remain as true today as they were in 1974. In every one of the last 43 years, Congress has appropriated funds to LSC to achieve the purposes of the Legal Services Corporation Act.

LSC operates a lean and robust program that delivers in meeting Congress’s goals. Even more importantly, funding for LSC is a rock-solid investment in fundamental American values. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The most sacred of the duties of government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.” LSC plays a critical role in fulfilling that duty.

We look forward to working with you to ensure that LSC is fully funded and able to meet the goal of providing equal access to justice for all in the United States.

Jim Sandman

President, Legal Services Corporation

May 2017


 

LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION

Background

The U.S. Constitution guarantees access to a lawyer when someone is accused of a crime. But, there is no constitutional right to an attorney when someone faces a civil action. For example, unless you can pay for legal assistance you are on your own to try to rectify unsafe rental housing, obtain a protective court order against an abusive spouse, fight for custody of your children, or secure veterans benefits you earned by your military service. It is very challenging to navigate the legal system on your own. Having legal assistance is crucial to protecting the liberty and justice for all for which our Founders fought.

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) was created in 1974 to ensure that low-income individuals and families have access to assistance to resolve their civil legal problems. Funding for LSC enables us to provide access to justice and due process under law for millions of low-income Americans every year. Today, LSC is the largest single funder of civil legal aid in the country. As a grant-making organization, LSC distributes more than 93% of our federal appropriation to eligible nonprofits delivering civil legal aid. LSC awards grants through a competitive process and currently funds 133 independent legal aid organizations with more than 800 offices serving every county in every state and the territories.

LSC’s grantees serve thousands of low-income individuals, veterans, children, families, and seniors in every congressional district. LSC grantees handle the basic civil legal needs of low-income people, addressing matters involving safety, subsistence, and family stability. Most legal aid practices are focused on family law, including domestic violence and child support and custody, and on housing matters, including evictions and foreclosures.

Our Mission

The United States Congress, in the declaration of purpose of the Legal Services Corporation Act, found that “there is a need to provide equal access to the system of justice in our Nation for individuals who seek redress of grievances,” that “there is a need to provide high quality legal assistance to those who would be otherwise unable to afford adequate legal counsel,” and that “providing legal assistance to those who face an economic barrier to adequate legal counsel will serve best the ends of justice and assist in improving opportunities for low-income persons.” In keeping with this mandate, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has established as our mission: “To promote equal access to justice in our nation and to provide high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income persons.”

LSC Leadership

LSC is governed by an 11-member Board of Directors, each of whom is appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate to serve a three-year term. By law the Board is bipartisan; no more than six members may be of the same political party. The current Board includes leaders from across the country with a wealth of professional experience at major law firms, law schools, and civil legal aid providers; two Board members are client-eligible representatives. The Board is responsible for hiring the President of the Corporation; the President oversees LSC’s staff and is responsible for the final approval of all awards made to the Corporation’s grantees. LSC’s senior management has considerable experience in both the public and private sectors.

Recent Initiatives to Improve Performance and Accountability 

LSC conducts robust oversight of its grantees. To ensure grantee compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements and sound financial management practices, LSC conducts regular on-site fiscal and programmatic compliance reviews and investigations. LSC also assesses the quality of legal services our grantees deliver and provides training and technical assistance.

LSC is committed to strong management of, and accountability for, federal funds. LSC has adopted rigorous oversight, enforcement, and training to promote grantees’ compliance with all requirements and restrictions that Congress has enacted. In 2016, LSC took the following actions pursuant to our strategic plan to expand access to justice, improve performance, and enhance fiscal responsibility:

  • Increased emphasis on fiscal risks during compliance visits.
  • Increased use of special grant conditions to improve grantee internal controls, fiscal policies, financial safeguards, program quality, and performance.
  • Actively promoted the adoption of best practices in legal aid delivery by its grantees.
  • Awarded Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants to 11 legal aid organizations in nine states and the District of Columbia to support innovations in pro bono legal services for low-income clients.
  • Awarded Technology Initiative Grants to 27 grantees in 20 states and one territory to support a variety of initiatives, including a mobile platform for a self-help legal website, an online intake platform in English and Spanish to help domestic violence victims, and a videoconferencing system for remote client interviews.
  • Hosted briefings for Members of Congress and their staff on Why Is Legal Aid Important to American Business? in the House of Representatives and Serving Those Who Have Served Our Country: How Legal Aid Helps Veterans in the Senate.

LSC leveraged the congressional investment in legal services with the following projects, all funded with private support:

  • Implemented the first Rural Summer Legal Corps, placing 30 law students with LSC grantees in 24 states to serve constituents in rural areas.
  • In partnership with Microsoft and Pro Bono Net, began to develop a pilot program for statewide justice portals providing a one-stop point of access for people seeking help with civil legal problems.
  • Developed a legal aid curriculum for public librarians, who are often the first people low-income Americans consult when seeking legal assistance.
  • Expanded support for disaster relief efforts by LSC grantees in 10 Midwestern states.
  • Evaluated the accessibility and usability of statewide legal aid websites, identifying best practices for LSC grantees.

 LSC-FY2018-BudgetRequest Image -Capitol


OVERVIEW

FY 2018 Budget Request

LSC requests an appropriation of $527,800,000 for FY 2018. This recommendation is $25.1 million more than last year’s request of $502.7 million, including a $24 million increase for basic field grants to local legal aid programs, a $1 million increase for LSC’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program, and an additional $100,000 for the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Our request reflects the overwhelming need for civil legal services in the United States. The country’s civil legal justice system today is, as a practical matter, inaccessible to many people who cannot afford to pay for legal assistance. LSC’s Board of Directors has determined that the need to increase the number of households served by legal aid is dire, as documented by numerous studies. Our request of a $25.1 million increase over last year’s request is a modest attempt to begin to address that need.

Although the population financially eligible for service at LSC-funded legal aid programs appears to have stabilized, the numbers remain near historic highs. We estimate that 57 million Americans will be eligible for LSC services in 2018, down slightly from 60.6 million in 2015. This represents nearly 18% of the total American population.

Our 2018 projection of the number of people eligible for LSC-funded legal services reflects a nearly 13% increase in the size of the eligible population since 2007, the last year before the recession began and the eligible population began to grow significantly.

In light of the magnitude of the need for civil legal aid and the lack of adequate resources to meet that need, LSC requests a significant increase in funding. The table below compares LSC’s request by budget category for FY 2017 and 2018. 

Budget Category
FY 2017 Request
FY 2018 Request
Change
Basic Field Grants
$467,000,000
$491,000,000
$24,000,000
Technology Initiative Grants
$5,000,000
$5,000,000
$0
Pro Bono  Innovation Fund
$5,000,000
$5,000,000
$0
Loan Repayment Assistance Program
$1,000,000
$2,000,000
$1,000,000
Management and Grants Oversight
$19,500,000
$19,500,000
$0
Office of Inspector General
$5,200,000
$5,300,000
$100,000
Total
$502,700,000
$527,800,000
$25,100,000

Basic field grants—grants to support the day-to-day operations of the civil legal aid programs LSC funds—continue to represent the largest component of LSC’s overall budget request. As in previous years, LSC recommends that 93% of our budget be allocated to basic field grants for FY 2018, 3.7% for management and grants oversight, and 1% for LSC’s Inspector General. LSC recommends that the budget for our loan repayment assistance program increase by $1 million, to assist legal aid programs in recruiting and retaining new legal aid lawyers with significant law school debt. Our FY 2018 request includes $5 million for the Pro Bono Innovation Fund—the grant program to encourage innovations in pro bono legal services proposed by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force, and $5 million for LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants (TIG).

The chart below shows our appropriations for FY 2016 and 20171

LSC Funding (Category)
FY 2016
Appropriations
FY 2017
Appropriations
Basic Field Grants
$352,000,000
$352,000,000
Technology Initiative Grants
$4,000,000
$4,000,000
Pro Bono Innovation Fund
$4,000,000
$4,000,000
Loan Repayment Assistance Program
$1,000,000
$1,000,000
Management and Grants Oversight
$19,000,000
$19,000,000
Office of Inspector General
$5,000,000
$5,000,000
Total
$385,000,000
$385,000,000

 

Overwhelming Demand for Civil Legal Services

The gap between the number of people who need legal services and the resources available to meet their needs remains significant. Almost one in five Americans qualifies for legal services today. In 2017, income eligibility for LSC-funded legal aid—125% of the federal poverty guideline—is $15,075 for an individual and $30,750 for a family of four. Based on the most recent information available, we estimate that 57 million Americans, or nearly 18% of the population, will be financially eligible for services by LSC grantees in FY 2018, a nearly 13% increase since 2007.

Eligible LSC Client Population Year2

Eligible Population
Percentage of Total Population
2007
50,864,000
17.3%
2008
51,988,000
17.6%
2009
56,430,000
18.9%
2010
60,722,000
20.1%
2011
63,324,000
20.8%
2012
63,569,000
20.8%
2013
63,558,000
20.6%
2014
63,010,000
20.3%
2015
60,552,000
19.3%
2016*
58,934,733
18.6%
2017*
57,895,142
18.2%
2018*
57,374,554
17.9%

 

LSC’s “Justice Gap” Reports from 2005 and 20093 showed that LSC grantees were able to assist only 50% of eligible persons who sought legal assistance from them. Both studies were conducted when the size of the eligible population was 8%-20% lower than we project it to be in 2018. LSC is currently undertaking a new justice gap study, and we expect to have the results available in June 2017.

LSC-FY2018-BudgetRequest-eligible-client-population-chart

There are no other national studies of the unmet civil legal needs of low-income Americans. We have compiled information from state-based research on the extent of the unmet need to provide a sense of the situation across the country, including:

Arkansas4

  • More than half of the 30,000 calls per year to the two LSC grantees in the state are turned away due to lack of resources.
  • There is only one legal aid attorney for every 16,050 eligible Arkansans, but one in five Arkansas residents qualifies for civil legal aid.

Florida5

  • Only 16% of those who reported having civil legal problems during the past year received assistance.

Massachusetts6

  • The Boston Bar Association found that civil legal aid programs turned away 64% of all eligible clients in 2013, a 14% increase from 2006.
  • People seeking assistance with family law cases were turned away 80% of the time.

Michigan7

  • 944,376 cases are turned away annually because programs lack sufficient funding.
  • The number of people who qualified for civil legal aid increased by 53% between 2000-2013 to over 2 million people.
  • 63% of those who needed help with eviction and foreclosure assistance did not receive assistance, while 80% of those who needed help with employment problems did not receive assistance.

New York8

  • Only 31% of civil legal needs were met in 2015.
  • Nearly half of the six million low-income New Yorkers had at least one legal issue, while more than 1.2 million experienced three or more legal problems.

Washington9

  • More than 70% of low-income households in Washington faced a significant civil legal issue in the past 12 months, but three-fourths could not obtain assistance.

Continuing Problem of Unrepresented Litigants

Inadequate funding for legal aid, combined with an enormous poverty population, has increased the number of unrepresented litigants in state courts. The growing number of unrepresented litigants is compromising the ability of the courts to provide equal justice to low-income people.

The National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ) Justice Index for 2016 shows that an average of 75% of litigants appear without lawyers in matters as important as evictions, mortgage foreclosures, child custody and child support, and debt collection in state courts.10 The table below presents a sample of jurisdictions, showing the percentage of defendants unrepresented in housing and consumer credit collection cases.11

Percentage of Unrepresented Defendants
State
Rental Housing
(Landlord-Tenant & Evictions)
Consumer/Credit Collection
Foreclosure
Arkansas12
-
92%
92%
Hawaii
96%
-
80%
Massachusetts13
90%
-
-
New York City
99%
96%
-
New York (outside NYC)
91%
97%
-
Philadelphia
75%
95%
98%

Judges from across the country have described the negative effect that the increasing number of unrepresented litigants is having on the nation’s justice system.14 Large numbers of unrepresented litigants clog the courts; take up the time of court personnel; cost opposing parties more in legal fees because of disruptions and delays; cause more cases to advance to litigation, which means that fewer cases are settled; and result in cases being decided on technical errors rather than the legal merits.

A 2016 report by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) included judges’ assessment of the effect that lack of representation has on the courts. The study focuses on family courts in four states—Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Tennessee. Nearly one-third of the judges surveyed responded that the rules of evidence were problematic in cases involving self-represented litigants. The study also noted that 85% of self-represented litigants expressed their desire for legal assistance in the form of advice and/or representation. Ninety percent of participants indicated that financial issues were influential or determinative of their decision to not obtain representation, since 43% of those surveyed had an annual income below $20,000 and only 14% had an income above $60,000 per year.15

Similarly, a 2016 report from Colorado addressed the growing problem of unrepresented litigants in the state’s courts. In Colorado domestic relations cases over the prior three years, approximately three-fourths of the litigants were unrepresented, and in two-thirds of those cases there was no lawyer on either side. In county court civil cases, consisting primarily of collections, evictions, and restraining orders, the unrepresented rate for responding parties held steady at 98% over the same period of time.16

The Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators detailed the consequences of lack of representation in their 2013 paper, “The Importance of Funding for the Legal Services Corporation from the Perspective of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators.” http://ccj.ncsc.org/~/media/Microsites/Files/CCJ/Web%20Documents/LSC_WHTPR.ashx.

The paper states that:

  • When an unrepresented litigant does not understand standard procedures and paperwork, judges must spend more time on the bench explaining information commonly understood by lawyers, or eliciting facts that the party should have presented.
  • Court clerks may have to answer more questions and provide additional assistance.
  • More cases reach the courts as litigation (as opposed to being settled) when one or both parties are unrepresented.
  • When one party in a case is represented by counsel and the other is not, delays and disruptions resulting from one party being unrepresented can increase the cost of counsel for the represented party.17

Impact of Not Having a Lawyer

A recent analysis of the case outcomes in Philadelphia state courts shows that unrepresented litigants are at a distinct disadvantage compared to those represented by a lawyer. The study looked at the impact of representation in housing and credit card collection cases by comparing the case outcomes when only one party is represented and when both parties are represented.

In credit card collection cases, a represented defendant was far more likely to obtain a settlement than those who were unrepresented.18 As illustrated in the table below, a represented defendant was nearly four times more likely to prevail than an unrepresented defendant. From 2014 to 2015, represented defendants secured a settlement in nearly 25% of the cases, compared to 6.4% for unrepresented defendants.

Outcomes of Credit Card Collection Cases in Philadelphia Based on Defendant’s Representation Status
Year
Number of Cases
% of cases in which Defendant Unrepresented
% of Cases in which
Defendant Obtained Settlement
Defendant
Represented
Defendant
Unrepresented
Total
Defendant
Represented
Defendant
Unrepresented
2014
36
580
616
94.2%
27.8%
6.9%
2015
21
479
500
95.8%
19.0%
5.8%
2014-2015
57
1059
1116
94.9%
24.6%
6.4%

 

The overwhelming majority of defendants were not represented in these types of cases: 94.2% in 2014 and 95.8% in 2015. If only half of the unrepresented individuals in 2014-2015 had been represented (530), and the win rate for that period remained constant (24.6%), the number of individuals securing a settlement would have increased 228% (from 57 to 187).

In housing (landlord-tenant) cases, defendants represented by a lawyer were significantly more likely to avoid evictions than were those who were not represented.19 The table that follows illustrates the number and percentage of represented and unrepresented defendants in averting evictions from 2006-2015. During that time period, represented defendants were on average twice as likely to avoid evictions than unrepresented persons (16.2% vs. 8.4%). If only half of the unrepresented individuals during the period 2006-2015 had been represented (2055), and the win rate for represented persons for that period remained constant (16.2%), the number of families that would have avoided eviction would range from 345 to 506. During the ten-year period, an average of 82% of all eviction cases included a defendant who was not represented.

Outcomes of Eviction Cases in Philadelphia Based on Defendant’s Representation Status
Year
Number of Cases
% of cases in which Defendant Unrepresented
% of Cases in which
Defendant Obtained Settlement
Defendant
Represented
Defendant
Unrepresented
Total
Defendant
Represented
Defendant
Unrepresented
2006
6
723
729
99.2%
16.7%
5.3%
2007
16
396
412
96.1%
6.3%
5.8%
2008
37
399
436
91.5%
13.5%
9.3%
2009
77
328
405
81.0%
14.3%
7.9%
2010
104
311
415
74.9%
8.7%
6.8%
2011
148
387
535
72.3%
14.2%
5.7%
2012
106
390
496
78.6%
15.1%
12.3%
2013
133
359
492
73.0%
12.0%
11.4%
2014
142
398
540
73.7%
21.8%
13.6%
2015
139
419
558
75.1%
25.9%
8.6%
2006 -2015
908
4110
5018
81.9%
16.2%
8.4%

 

Outcome of Cases in Utah Debt Collection and Evictions Cases20
Case Type
Represented Defendant
Unrepresented Defendant
# of Cases
Win Rate
# of Cases
Win Rate
Debt Collection
542
59%
55,938
18%
Evictions
211
40%
5,486
28%

 

Utah District Courts show similar results. In debt collection and eviction cases in 2015, a represented defendant was far more likely to win than an unrepresented defendant. As illustrated in the table below, a represented defendant was three times more likely to win a case than an unrepresented defendant in debt collection (59% compared to 18%). The chart also shows that the vast majority of defendants in these cases are unrepresented.

The Cost of Addressing Unmet Legal Needs

To determine the funding necessary to address unmet civil legal needs, LSC reviewed the results of ten state legal needs studies from 2003–2015.21 These studies identified the percentage of eligible households that had at least one civil legal need during the course of a year. The results ranged from 45% to 70% of eligible households. We used the low end of this range–45%–to calculate the number of eligible households with a civil legal need for each year from 2008–2016, and to estimate the number of eligible households with civil legal needs in 2017 and 2018. We then looked at how many households LSC grantees actually served in each year from 2008–2016, and estimated how many households LSC grantees would be able to serve in 2017, and 2018 assuming basic field funding at the current (2016) level.

The graph below charts the number of eligible households with at least one civil legal problem from 2008–2018 compared to the number of households served by LSC grantees in those years.

HH legal needs vs hh served chart

The number of households served reflects services provided only by LSC grantees and does not include households served by legal aid programs not funded by LSC. According to the National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ), 56% of the nation’s civil legal aid attorneys are employed by LSC grantees.22 This figure is based on data collected from 370 civil legal aid organizations for NCAJ’s 2016 Justice Index.

In fact, the NCAJ recommended that the LSC Board seek funding of $1.36 billion for FY 2018 based on its assessment of the need to increase the number of lawyers available to poor people from the current 1.1 civil legal aid lawyer per 10,000 poor people to 10 civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 poor people. The formula is based on NCAJ’s 2016 Justice Index, which reported that 9.09 times as many lawyers as are currently available are necessary to meet a benchmark of 10 civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 poor people.23

There is a clear correlation between the number of cases closed by LSC grantees and available funding. When LSC’s basic field funding peaked at $394.4 million in 2010, the highest in LSC’s history in absolute terms, the total number of cases closed by LSC grantees also increased to the highest level (932,000 cases). Similarly, when LSC’s basic field funding dropped by 19.8% from 2010–2013, cases closed declined by 18.6% for the same time period (932,000 cases closed in 2010 to 759,000 in 2013).

The strong positive correlation (78%) between basic field funding and case closures provides an important measure of the efficiency of the public investment in LSC as an organization and the provision of direct civil legal services to low-income households.24

Comp of LSC Funding and Case Closures Chart

We have projected the cost of serving additional households with civil legal needs based on the average cost per case closure reported by LSC grantees. The table below includes three different scenarios depending on the number of additional households to be served with basic field funding above the 2016 level. For each scenario, we multiplied the number of additional households to be served by the average cost per case closure at the national level. We have used the national average cost-per-case closure over a three-year period to control for spikes that can occur in a single reporting year.

Using past performance as a basis for future service projections, we have estimated the number of additional households LSC grantees could serve with increased basic field funding. As reflected in the table below, significant increases in basic field funding are necessary to serve 1%, 5% or 10% more households. In light of the budgetary pressures on federal spending, however, the Board found it prudent to request a smaller increase. Our request of $491 million for Basic Field Grants will enable LSC grantees to serve 3.35% more people.

Increase in Basic Field Funding Needed to Serve Additional Households with Civil Legal Needs
Additional Total Households to Serve Above FY16 Levels
Number of Households25
 Cost to Serve One Household26
Additional Basic Field Funding Needed Above FY16 Levels27
Basic Field Request28
One percent (1%)
83,812
$496
$41,551,409
$393,551,409
Five percent (5%)
419,059
$496
$207,757,047
$559,757,047
Ten percent (10%)
838,118
$496
$415,514,094
$767,514,094
3.35%
280,372
$496
$139,000,000
$491,000,000

 

The Value of Investing in Civil Legal Aid

 The Value of Investing in Civil Legal Aid29 

Providing civil legal aid is one of the most effective ways to help Americans navigate the justice system while also promoting greater efficiency in the courts. The modest federal contribution to civil legal aid—only 38% of total funding for LSC-supported legal aid programs is a good investment, allowing legal aid recipients to safeguard their basic legal rights at minimal cost. LSC grantees leverage federal resources by engaging partners and accessing alternative funding sources, such as Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) funds, state and local appropriations and grants, philanthropic foundations, and individual donors. They also collaborate with a wide network of law firms, individual practitioners, bar associations, law schools, access to justice commissions, and business and community organizations to expand free legal help for the poor.

A growing body of research demonstrates that investment in civil legal aid stimulates significant economic benefits for communities, for state and local governments, and for individuals. Studies in several states illustrate that civil legal aid positively affects the housing market foreclosure and eviction rates, employment, and reduces homeless shelters and domestic abuse costs. In recent years, the following states released economic studies highlighting the benefits resulting from making legal aid available.

Florida30

Providing civil legal services saved the state $60.4 million in cost savings in the form of:

  • $2.9 million in avoided costs of emergency shelter for low-income families.
  • $50.6 million in avoided foreclosure costs.
  • $6.9 million in avoided costs associated with domestic violence.

Maine31

  • Assisting homeowners to avoid foreclosures and evictions saved the state $2.6 million in emergency shelter costs.
  • Providing legal services to survivors of domestic violence saved the state more than $300,000.

Massachusetts32

  • For every $1 spent representing families and individuals in housing court, the state saved $2.69 on other services, such as emergency shelter, health care, foster care, and law enforcement.
  • Providing legal services to survivors of domestic violence saved the state $16 million.

Minnesota33

  • Providing legal services to survivors of domestic violence saved the state $7.3 million.
  • Assisting homeowners to avoid foreclosures and evictions saved $4.1 million in shelter costs.

Montana34

  • Legal aid representation of low-income clients generated nearly $2 million in cost savings, including prevention of domestic violence, evictions, and foreclosures, and increased court efficiencies.
  • Providing legal services to survivors of domestic violence saved $1.4 million in medical costs alone.
  • Assisting homeowners to avoid foreclosures and evictions saved more than $560,000 in shelter costs.

New York35

  • Civil legal aid in eviction cases saved the state $220 million in costs that would have been spent on shelters. Another $40 million was saved by providing brief representation in other housing matters.
  • Providing legal services to survivors of domestic violence saved the state $85 million in medical and mental health expenses, workplace productivity, and lost wages.

Tennessee36

  • Civil legal aid saved Tennesseans $1.3 million that would have been spent on emergency shelters.
  • Providing legal services to survivors of domestic violence saved the state $7.5 million in medical and mental health expenses, social services, law enforcement resources, workplace productivity, lost wages, and judicial system costs.
  • Preventing foreclosure through legal aid saved residents and local governments an estimated $33.8 million.

Virginia37

  • Providing legal services to survivors of domestic violence saved the state $1.9 million in costs related to medical and mental health care, counseling for affected children, and law enforcement resources.
  • Homelessness prevention efforts resulted in about $1.2 million savings in emergency shelter costs. Because 632 low-income families (with 1,704 family members) avoided the need for emergency shelter, an estimated $12,790 per family was saved.

INSERT TABLE ON PAGE 12

BASIC FIELD GRANTS SUPPORT CRITICAL CONSTITUENT SERVICES

LSC requests $491 million for “basic field grants” to fund the day-to-day operations of legal aid organizations. LSC grantees help constituents who live in households with annual incomes at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines—$15,075 for an individual and $30,750 for a family of four in 2017. Eligible constituents span every demographic and live in rural, suburban, and urban areas. They include veterans and military families, homeowners and renters, families with children, farmers, the disabled, and the elderly. 

Who Qualifies for LSC-Funded Services

Nearly 30% of Americans—92.4 million people—qualified for LSC-funded services at some time during 2015, the most recent year for which U.S. Census Bureau data are available. Of these:

  • 60.6 million people—one in five Americans—had annual incomes below the income threshold for LSC-funded legal assistance.38
  • Another 31.8 million people had incomes below the 125% level for at least two consecutive months during the year.39

Of the 60.6 million people living in households with annual incomes below 125% of poverty in 2015:

  • 6.4 million (10.5%) were seniors 65 years or older.40
  • 11.1 million (18.4%) were persons with disabilities.41

An estimated 1.7 million veterans are eligible for LSC-funded services.42

One-half (50.4%) of the working-age adults (16–64 years old) eligible for LSC-funded services are employed. Nearly one in seven—5.5 million—worked full-time, year-round in 2015, but earned so little that their families had annual incomes less than 125% of the federal poverty line.41

Legal Aid Is Essential to Rural Communities

Federal funding for LSC allows access to justice for rural residents who would not have access to a lawyer in most cases. Due to the relative isolation of many rural communities, legal aid attorneys often represent the only help available for civil legal problems. There is a shortage of attorneys serving rural communities. According to The New York Times, while 20% of the nation’s population resides in rural communities, only 2% of lawyers serve these communities.43 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that rural areas lag behind urban centers even on a per-capita basis, when it comes to employing attorneys. 

In some states there are counties without any attorneys, and in some rural communities, people have to drive 100 miles to see the nearest attorney.44 For low-income rural citizens, this represents a substantial barrier to justice. For example:

  • In Nebraska, there are no lawyers in ten of the state’s counties.
  • In Georgia, 70% of the state’s lawyers are in the Atlanta metropolitan area while 70% of the state’s low-income population live outside of that area. Georgia has six counties with no lawyers.
  • In South Dakota, 65% of the lawyers live in four urban areas.45

For many LSC-funded legal aid organizations serving large rural areas, funding from LSC represents the majority of their revenue. Nearly 80% of LSC’s funding ($300 million of the $385 million) is awarded to legal aid offices that serve some portion of a rural population. In the following states, LSC funding represents more than 50% of the total funding for civil legal services: Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah. 

In 2015, LSC-funded programs closed 755,744 cases nationwide, involving households with nearly 1.9 million people. Grantees that serve areas that include rural populations closed 653,681 cases and served households with more than 1.6 million people. These grantees provide important constituent services to rural populations, such as helping women and children escape domestic violence, helping families with housing issues, assisting veterans, and helping seniors ward off consumer scams.

In 2016, LSC established the Rural Summer Legal Corps with private donations to expand access to justice in rural area. This new program allows law students from across the country to provide legal services to low-income Americans living in rural communities. Examples of the types of projects students have worked on include advocating for the rights of low-income tenants of mobile homes in rural Virginia, assisting with estate planning for elderly communities in Hawaii, and assisting with order of protection proceedings for domestic violence survivors in rural Missouri.

Types of Cases Handled by LSC-Funded Programs

Millions of Americans cannot access the civil justice system because they cannot afford a lawyer. Some seek protection from an abusive spouse, or are fighting for custody of an abused or orphaned child. Others face homelessness because of a wrongful eviction or foreclosure. They may be Iraq or Afghanistan War veterans who have returned home to economic strain and confront legal issues. Or they may be elderly citizens who have fallen victim to fraud and lost their life savings.

LSC-funded legal aid ensures that eligible constituents do not have to navigate the legal system alone. In 2016, LSC grantees helped nearly 1.8 million people in all households served. Grantees closed 736,404 cases nationwide, including 73,627 with the involvement of pro bono attorneys. More than 71% of the people assisted (527,444) were women and 18% (134,623) were at least 60 years old. More than 60% of all cases closed involved family law and housing matters. LSC grantees provide quality legal counsel at no cost to low-
income constituents who could not otherwise afford an attorney. They employ experienced legal professionals who are experts in civil legal matters.

2016 Case Closures Chart

  • Family Law: LSC grantees help parents obtain and keep custody of their children, family members secure guardianship of orphaned and abused children, and victims of domestic violence get protective orders. Nearly one-third of all cases closed by LSC grantees are family law cases.
  • Housing Cases: The second largest category of cases closed includes efforts to resolve landlord-tenant disputes, avoid wrongful foreclosures or renegotiate mortgages, and assist renters whose landlords are being foreclosed upon.
  • Income Maintenance: LSC grantees help clients obtain veterans unemployment, disability, and health care benefits for which they are eligible and provide representation when benefits are wrongfully denied.
  • Consumer Issues: Many cases involve protecting the elderly and other vulnerable individuals from being victimized by unscrupulous lenders or merchants and providing legal advice about debt management and consumer rights.

Expungement Cases

Civil legal aid can be used to improve employment prospects for people exiting the criminal justice system. Although LSC and its grantees are restricted by federal law from representing clients in criminal cases, expunging and/or sealing of criminal records are civil processes in many states. Research has shown that millions of Americans with criminal records face impediments to accessing employment, educational resources, government services, and housing. Having a legal aid attorney expunge or seal all, or a portion of, a criminal record can help Americans assert rights that they would find confusing and inaccessible without an advocate. In 2016, more than 24,000 LSC clients received information about sealing or expunging of a criminal record, and more than 2,800 clients received representation that resulted in the successful sealing or expungement of a criminal record. 

The following case studies are examples of real people who have been helped by legal aid programs across the country. For more client stories in every state, please see LSC’s website at www.lsc.gov/media-center/client-success-stories.

Client Story Expungement

LEGAL AID IS THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Family law cases, including domestic violence and child custody, represent the largest category of cases closed by LSC grantees each year. Millions of women, men, and children experience domestic violence in the U.S. every year.46 Legal aid is essential to protect domestic violence victims and their families and to help them overcome many associated problems that can endanger their safety and stability.

Key Facts -Domestic Violence

In 2016 LSC grantees closed 115,977 domestic violence cases involving nearly 282,014 victims and their families. This represents nearly 16% of all cases closed by grantees nationwide. During the past five years (2012-2016), LSC grantees have closed more than half a million (559,587) domestic violence cases. For some grantees, one-third or more of their cases involve domestic violence, including:47

  • Legal Aid Society (KY) at nearly 42%,
  • New Mexico Legal Aid at 40%,
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services and Neighborhood Legal Services Association (PA) at nearly 37%,
  • Texas RioGrande Legal Aid at 36.5%, and
  • Central Minnesota Legal Services at 36%.

Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.48 On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.49 During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.50

A study by the Institute for Policy Integrity found that civil legal aid is more effective than access to shelters or counseling services in reducing domestic violence—by as much as 21%.51 Increasing a woman’s chances for obtaining a protective order is the most effective way in which legal assistance can help reduce domestic violence. Survivors of domestic violence rate the filing of a protective order as one of their two most effective tools for stopping domestic violence, second only to leaving the abuser.52 According to one study, 83% of victims represented by an attorney successfully obtained a protective order, compared to only 32% of victims without an attorney.53

According to the Department of Justice, women in the lowest income households experience seven times the rate of abuse suffered by women in the highest income households.54 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that the cost of intimate partner violence in the U.S. exceeds $9.05 billion every year.55

Client Story Domestic Violence

HOW LEGAL AID HELPS VETERANS

An estimated 1.7 million veterans are eligible for LSC-funded services.56 Local legal aid offices are gateways for veterans in need of civil legal assistance. Many veterans who served in combat confront legal problems—such as foreclosures, evictions, consumer fraud, child custody issues, and wrongful denials of benefits—that LSC-funded legal aid programs handle. LSC grantees across the country partner with veterans’ associations, advocates, and other service providers to do outreach and expand legal services to veterans.

Key Facts Veterans

In 2016, LSC grantees assisted nearly 100,000 veterans and their family members with a range of legal problems nationwide.57 The states with the largest number of veteran households assisted by LSC grantees are Texas (13,055), California (8,982), and New York (7,789). The largest number of veteran households served by a single LSC grantee was 6,959 by Lone Star Legal Aid in Texas.58

In addition to providing direct legal assistance, LSC grantees employ multiple strategies to identify and respond to the needs of veterans and their families. Veterans are especially vulnerable to homelessness. Veterans are 7.6% of the total population but comprise 9.2% of the homeless adult population.59 According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, approximately 48,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.60 In addition, another 1.4 million veterans are at risk of homelessness because of poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.61

Medical-Legal Partnerships

Medical-legal partnerships (MLP) bring the medical and legal communites together to address and prevent harmful conditions. Pine Tree Legal Services, LSC’s grantee in Maine, launched an MLP at Maine’s only VA Medical Center at Togus in late 2015. The program includes training, outreach, and direct representation of eligible clients, including the use of donated space at the VA Medical Center. A 2012 study by Pine Tree found that most providers working with veterans had little or no understanding of the civil legal system and could not identify problems that would benefit from legal help. In 2016, more than 526 professionals, including staff with the VA Medical Center and veteran service organizations, participated in Pine Tree trainings or community education events related to veteran needs. Many have subsequently consulted with Pine Tree staff about specific cases or issues appropriate for legal services. Ninety percent of referrals to the MLP at Togus VA Medical Center now come from providers. 

Client Story _ Veterans

Stateside Legal Website

In recent years, LSC and the VA have worked together to expand legal services to veterans and military families. As a part of this initiative, LSC supports StatesideLegal.org—the first website in the nation to focus exclusively on veterans’ federal legal rights and resources. Stateside Legal is a free resource developed by Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Portland, Maine with a grant from LSC to serve low-income individuals with a military connection, including veterans, current members of the military, and their families. The website provides information on a variety of subjects, including disability benefits, employment matters, and legal protections for service members facing foreclosure proceedings. The website:

  • Provides accurate, user-friendly legal content in high priority areas of the law.
  • Identifies which legal protections and programs are available in specific situations (e.g., which apply to all veterans, activated National Guard members, or spouses).
  • Provides links to other resources on a state-by-state basis.

The VA encourages use of Stateside Legal in connection with service to homeless veterans. In 2016, the website had more than 500,000 visitors from all 50 states and several countries, including Afghanistan and Iraq, and recorded nearly one million page views.

HELPING FAMILIES STAY IN THEIR HOMES

Millions of families across the country are at risk of losing their homes because of the scarcity of affordable housing and skyrocketing eviction rates. In 2016, LSC grantees helped more than half a million (507,123) people secure or retain access to safe, affordable housing.62 Housing cases represent 28% of all cases closed by LSC grantees nationwide. More than 56% of those cases involve disputes between a private tenant and landlord.

Key Facts Housing

Research shows that legal representation can be essential to protect low-income persons’ housing. For example, a study by the Boston Bar Association found that renters represented by an attorney were twice as likely to avoid eviction as those without an attorney, and the amount of the rent benefits they received was nearly five times greater.63

Eviction rates remain high across the country. U.S. landlords initiate more than 3 million evictions a year, and most are won the moment they are filed because property owners can usually afford lawyers, while most renters cannot.64 In New York City, renters who face eviction usually do so without a lawyer, compared with just two percent of landlords who represent themselves.65 Other states have the same issue: 95% of tenants go to court without a lawyer in Maryland, and 97% in Washington D.C.66

Client Story-Housing

HELPING SURVIVORS OF NATURAL DISASTERS

In the aftermath of a natural or manmade disaster, legal services providers are a critical component of comprehensive disaster relief support services. When disasters strike, LSC grantees mobilize attorneys to provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income disaster survivors in affected communities. Working in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, and national and local recovery organizations, LSC grantees set up recovery hotlines, staff FEMA disaster recovery centers, and provide direct representation to low-income survivors.

Key Facts - Natural Disasters

Legal challenges can haunt disaster survivors for years as they seek to replace identification papers such as birth certificates, drivers licenses, and Social Security cards; apply for disaster benefits; and deal with insurance claims. Many survivors face a variety of other legal issues ranging from preventing unlawful evictions and foreclosures to combating contractor scams. Some survivors need assistance with school transfers and transportation. Disasters have a far-reaching impact, but low-income families and individuals are most vulnerable when disaster strikes. These individuals require disaster preparedness planning support, and in the event of a disaster, they need experts who understand the legal issues involved. LSC grantees can help survivors with the following problems:

  • Family Assistance: obtain emergency child custody, visitation, support, and other court orders requiring modification as a result of displacement, injury, or job loss.
  • Housing Assistance: help homeowners secure temporary housing, file insurance claims, apply for home repair assistance, negotiate with landlords to make necessary repairs to damaged homes, and protect renters from illegal evictions.
  • Identification and Documentation Recovery: replace important legal documents including personal identification cards, property titles, orders of protection, and end-of-life documents (which are often necessary to apply for disaster relief benefits and insurance proceeds).
  • Emergency Benefits: help families get emergency food stamps and FEMA benefits to pay for rent and other expenses, including disaster-related unemployment insurance benefits.

Disaster declarations have increased dramatically in the past 10-15 years. The chart below shows changes in disaster declarations since the 1970s.

In addition to responding to specific disasters, LSC maintains regular communication with the American Red Cross and FEMA to ensure a coordinated response when disasters occur. LSC convenes National Legal Aid Disaster Network calls to address disaster-related issues. The National Disaster Legal Aid website, www.disasterlegalaid.org, is sponsored by LSC, the American Bar Association, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, and Pro Bono Net. The website helps victims of hurricanes, fires, floods, and other disasters.

FEMA Chart

Client Story - Natural Disasters

HELPING SENIORS AND THE DISABLED

LSC grantees provide the elderly and people with disabilities with legal representation, information, counseling, and education in civil legal matters. More than 6 million seniors, 10.5% of those 65 years or older, are eligible for LSC-funded services.67 In 2016, clients who were 60 and older represented 18% of the clients served by LSC grantees. In 2016, LSC grantees helped more than 90,000 persons and their family members access employment, housing, appropriate educational services, essential services, and income support.68

Key Facts Seniors and Disabled

Helping Seniors

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Alternative Poverty Estimates show that seniors’ poverty rates increase dramatically, from 8.8% to 15.4%, when their out-of-pocket medical expenses are considered.69 Many low-income seniors have little financial cushion, given that more than one-fourth (27%) of all persons over 60 years old have no retirement savings.70 LSC grantees seek to protect and increase seniors’ financial resources by handling cases on issues such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), wills and estates, advanced directives, and powers of attorney.

Persons 65 years and older are three times as likely as younger persons to have a disability.71 Half of those 65 years and older have a disability and more than one-third (37%) have severe disabilities.72 Seniors also suffer from a range of chronic health conditions. LSC grantees help these special populations with cases related to Medicare, long-term health care facilities, home and community-based care, Medicaid, and SSI.

Reports show that older adults with cognitive impairments are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation and scams.73 The National Senior Citizens Law Center reports that deceptive lending practices, including those attributable to home improvement scams, are among the most frequent problems experienced by financially distressed elderly Americans seeking legal assistance.74 Seniors with low-incomes may lack the income or credit to cover expenses for medical care, home repair, and taxes. Tapping the equity in their home may seem a reasonable option, but it exposes them to a range of predatory lending and other manipulative and illegal practices. To protect seniors’ interests from consumer scams, LSC grantees handle cases regarding collections, predatory lending practices, and unfair and deceptive sales practices.

Helping Persons with Disabilities

Nearly one in five (18%) of those eligible for LSC-funded services are persons with disabilities.67 Children and adults with disabilities are subjected to much higher rates of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and serious violent crime than those without disabilities.75 For example, the Department of Justice reports that for all age groups under 65, “the rate of violent victimization against persons with disabilities was at least double the rate for those without disabilities” during the 2010-2014 period.76 Another study found that “children with disabilities are 2.9 times more likely than children without disabilities to be sexually abused” and those with intellectual and mental health disabilities have “4.6 times the risk of sexual abuse as their peers without disabilities.”77

Persons with disabilities face unique barriers in securing safe, affordable housing. Since much of the housing stock does not provide legally required accommodations, discrimination against persons with disabilities may be the most prevalent form of discrimination in the housing market. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that discrimination against persons with disabilities is the largest category of complaints it typically receives each year.78 The Fair Housing Alliance reports that discrimination against persons with disabilities comprises the largest share of complaints each year.79 A recent study by the Urban Institute researchers documented discrimination against home seekers who are deaf or hard of hearing and who use wheelchairs.80

Client Story -Elderly Disabled


 

LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY TO EXPAND ACCESS TO JUSTICE

LSC requests $5 million for the Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program for FY 2018, the same amount requested for the past five years. This would allow LSC to build on the success of the program and increase our ability to provide essential information, advice, and representation to more eligible clients. LSC’s TIG program plays a major role in expanding access to justice. Congress appropriated $4 million for this fund in FY 2015 and FY 2016.

Since 2000, TIG has funded more than 600 projects totaling more than $57 million. With these grants, LSC grantees have been able to build a foundation for better service delivery that includes statewide websites; enhanced capacity for intake and case management systems; and automated forms to support clients, staff, and pro bono efforts.

Additional funding would enable LSC to expand access to justice through the use of technology. In 2016, LSC awarded 34 technology grants to 27 grantees in 20 states and one U.S. territory. The grants support a variety of initiatives, including developing a mobile platform for a self-help legal website, creating an online intake platform in English and Spanish to help domestic violence victims, and implementing a video-conferencing system for remote client interviews.

2016 TIG Map

Examples of projects funded include:

Continuing Legal Education

Legal Services NYC operates the nation’s largest and most comprehensive poverty law Continuing Legal Education program. This grant will add a new innovative e-learning component to the curriculum, allowing the program to reach more attorneys and staff.

Expanding Legal Aid Access to Mobile Devices

LSC grantees in California, Connecticut, and Virginia received grants to expand legal access through the use of mobile devices. Mobile online platforms allow clients to apply for services outside of normal business hours. The websites save clients time by clearly explaining and guiding them through legal options. The SMS/MMS text message systems allow clients to keep track of their cases, share documents with attorneys, and allow further conversation between attorneys and clients if necessary.

  • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles will develop an online intake system in six languages that is accessible on smartphone, tablet, and personal computers.
  • Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut will make the self-help portion of its website more accessible on a mobile platform, making sure those that are mobile-dependent can receive the same information as those using laptops or PCs.
  • Legal Aid Society of Orange County will use text messaging services to communicate with clients, allowing attorneys to quickly review the case and documents, determining if a longer conversation is necessary via text. This makes communication easier and more efficient for both the clients and lawyers.
  • Legal Services of Northern Virginia will develop a text and voice message system that will allow Spanish speakers to be notified of upcoming office appointments and court hearings.

Use of mobile devices increases the number of clients served due to increased access and efficiency. The TIG program has encouraged replication and improvement of mobile platforms across the country.

Expanded Access for Remote Populations

American Samoa Legal Aid’s All-Island Access to Legal Aid project will allow residents of the isolated Manu’a Islands to gain access to legal aid services. This project is a partnership to establish four interview locations on three separate islands, each with a desktop computer, scanner/printer, and internet access. This technology will increase service levels across American Samoa.

2016 TIG Grants (Total Funding $4,203,221)
State Grantee
Grant Amount
Grant Description
AS American Samoa Legal Aid
$61,740
Establish four interview locations on three islands within the Manu’a Islands, each with a desktop computer, scanner/printer and internet access to allow residents of the isolated Manu’a Islands in American Samoa to gain access to legal aid services.
AZ Southern Arizona Legal Aid
$80,957
Use video conferencing to engage urban attorneys with rural clients and clients without access to legal aid due to lack of transportation. The project will enable SALA to move program  training and cross-office collaborations into the virtual world by using the video conferencing features, reducing program costs.
CA Legal Aid Society of Orange County
$94,064
Develop a system to send and receive text and multimedia-enhanced messages, including the ability for clients to securely send digital copies of key documents so that an attorney can review immediately. Texts from the program will also remind clients of appointments, and all client-sent texts will route automatically into the case and document management system.
CA Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
$159,695
Develop an online intake system in six languages to better connect with eligible clients. The online intake will be accessible to prospective clients 24 hours a
day, seven days a week, and be accessible by smartphone, tablet, and personal computers using the A2J Author 5.0 platform. The system will be able to provide just-in-time legal information and resources to prospective clients as they make their way through the online intake system.
CT Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut
$88,178
Enhance its self-help website, CTLawHelp.org, to make it more accessible for users on mobile devices. This will create an innovative website interface that feels and works more naturally on a mobile device and will incorporate cutting-edge design practices to create a high-quality user experience.
CT Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut
$152,000
Support improvements to Connecticut RePresent, an interactive learning experience that helps prepare self-represented individuals for court. SLSC will modify the RePresent to create  jurisdiction-specific versions for clients in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. It will also create a new version to educate clients on how to navigate eviction proceedings in housing court.
FL Legal Services of North Florida
$130,121
Improve its phone  system  to increase ease of access for clients and improve staff
ability to obtain client information. The upgraded phone system will use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which uses internet services to send and receive calls. The ultimate goal is to foster a more cohesive system creating interfaces among the organization’s case management system, SharePoint, Office 365/Outlook, and VoIP.
FL Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida
$66,379
In partnership with PS Technologies, CCLA will develop an appointment and event reminder system. Legal aid clients will be notified via text message of upcoming appointments, court appearances, and other important deadlines. This technology will strengthen communication and improve outcomes for legal aid clients.
FL Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
$139,200
Florida Legal Services Open Referral Initiative will enable all of the state’s legal services providers to share real-time information about their services in an open and easily accessible format. The project will make it easier to locate information about available community resources and help low-income Floridians receive the legal assistance.
ID Idaho Legal Aid Services
$80,934
Make legal aid websites in the state more accessible for individuals facing legal issues. The project will make it easier to share  and find important information about legal resources. It will also increase legal aid organizations’ online presence and direct users to relevant legal information.
ID Idaho Legal Aid Services
$251,985
In partnership with the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction and the Illinois Tech Chicago-Kent College of Law, ILAS will improve A2J (Access to Justice) Guided Interviews for the legal aid community. A2J Guided Interviews are interfaces that take complex legal information and present it in a straightforward way to self-represented litigants. This project will ensure  that the catalog of more than 1,000 A2J Guided Interviews currently available to the legal aid community is easy to use, accurate, and up-to-date.
IL Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation
$142,930
Enhance the Illinois statewide website, Illinois Legal Aid Online, to tailor content to individual users and leverage usage data to improve user experience and engagement. The project team will develop a sophisticated personalization engine that uses data modeling to anticipate both individual users’ needs and the appropriate time to present them information.
IA Iowa Legal Aid
$59,734
Update and expand the A2J Author to migrate the program’s current online intake interview from the desktop to the cloud version, which will expand access to
online applications to mobile device users.  The project will also put the A2J author application to new uses for referrals and training and provide a Spanish language version of the online application and referral tools.
MI Michigan Advocacy Program
$57,000
Build text messaging capacity into the Pika Case Management System to enable advocates to easily and confidentially communicate with clients via text messaging; schedule automated reminder texts to be sent to clients alerting them to court dates, office appointments, and case progress actions; and communicate with clients in emergencies via advocates’ personal phones through the Pika interface (while keeping phone numbers private and storing conversations in Pika).
MI Michigan Advocacy Program
$127,000
Create  four toolkits to help legal aid organizations evaluate and implement specific technology solutions recommended by the LSC Technology Baselines. The toolkits will help program  leaders understand the benefits of specific operations and service delivery technologies, demystify the implementation process, and assist leaders in making smart decisions.
MT Montana Legal Services
Association
$116,537
Develop several packages of automated legal forms, including a will for Native Americans (usable across four states), simple wills for low-income people in Montana,  living wills, and related affidavits. These forms will be available to self- represented individuals, pro bono attorneys, and legal aid staff.
NE Legal Aid of Nebraska
$132,000
Develop a unified intake and triage system  in English and Spanish to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of civil legal services across the state. The development and implementation of this project will enhance previous work under a TIG grant to build an expert system designed to be a technological hub for pro bono and assisted pro se (self-represented) litigants.
NY Legal Services NYC
$77,500
Add new and innovative e-learning component to the program’s poverty law CLE curriculum, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive legal aid-focused training program.
NY Legal Assistance of Western
New York
$114,223
The Raising the Bar project will use the LSC Technology Baselines to develop and pilot an online, interactive training and assessment program that can be utilized by legal aid providers to train staff on the technology skills needed to effectively and efficiently serve their clients.
NY Legal Assistance of Western
New York
$47,000
Enhance the LegalServer case management system, focusing on building efficiency. The enhancements to LegalServer will allow clients to stay connected with advocates throughout their case, enable legal service providers to deliver more holistic legal services to their current clients, and create  new efficiencies in the way that advocates handle cases.
OH Ohio State Legal Services
$808,000
Maintain LawHelp Interactive (LHI), the national online document assembly platform, used in more than 40 states to provide innovative services to clients and self- represented litigants. The grant will ensure that the LHI platform continues to provide
a robust,  reliable, and secure platform for the delivery of legal services by state  justice communities. The service helps users  fill out complicated legal forms by answering a series of questions.
OH Ohio State Legal Services
$46,576
Create automated documents and court forms specially designed for legal services staff. The goal is to automate more work, freeing up staff to focus on higher-level service delivery. This project will also enable clients to assist in the completion of documents.
OK Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma
$135,217
In partnership with the Tulsa Family Safety Center, LASO will improve outcomes for victims of domestic violence by improving the workflow at the Center by consolidating the current series of oral and written interviews into one interview with an advocate.
OK Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma
$221,746
Develop a statewide online triage program for all Oklahomans seeking civil legal services. It will identify and recommend the best sources of assistance for an individual’s circumstances, based on variables such as type of legal problem, income, location, and language.
PA Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center
$42,000
Create a statewide database of landlord-tenant eviction cases and analyze the data under the direction of a steering committee of justice community members in order to measure outcomes, determine gaps in access to counsel, and identify priority areas for increased pro bono participation. A toolkit will be developed based on this demonstration project to assist other states with undertaking similar projects.
SC South Carolina
Legal Services
$86,245
Develop and distribute online classroom training modules for pro bono attorneys, self-represented litigants, legal aid attorneys, and court personnel. The classrooms will include videos, written materials, and automated interviews to help complete legal forms.
SC South Carolina
Legal Services
$122,000
In partnership with the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science, SCLS will develop and implement an information management system. This project will enable legal services providers to seamlessly store, search, locate, and share documents statewide to enhance and improve client services.
TN West Tennessee
Legal Services
$57,860
Replicate and expand Legal Aid of Western Michigan’s (LAWM) A2J online intake project. The system  will utilize the case management system  (CMS) Interview Connector developed by LAWM for seamless transfer of applicant data from the A2J Interview to the CMS. Implementation will focus on the 16 rural counties within the WTLS 17-county service area, and increase efficiency. Applicants will have 24/7 access to the system from any geographical location without needing available mobile phone minutes to complete telephone intake.
TN Memphis Area
Legal Services
$53,400
Create  an online portal allowing legal aid intake staff to conduct guided interviews with clients. Written by attorneys in different areas  of the law, the scripts will guide staff in providing case-specific advice to clients.
TX Legal Aid of
NorthWest Texas
$52,000
Develop an online intake portal in English and Spanish for the 114-county service area of Northwest Texas. The portal will support desktop and mobile users and be accessible at all times. The program will encourage applicants to access
the system  at branch  offices, legal clinics, and community outreach centers to
facilitate a more expedited application process.
UT Utah Legal
Services
$202,000
Build several new modules in its case management system, LegalServer. Attorneys and staff use LegalServer to collect and organize client data,  capture case activities, and other important functions. The new modules will allow ULS to use data already collected to streamline and enhance communications with clients, preserve institutional knowledge, and improve oversight of case work.
VA Central Virginia
Legal Aid Society
$62,000
Create an A2J guided interview for bankruptcy applicants to obtain information needed to determine whether bankruptcy is appropriate. The software will then produce an instruction letter to the applicant explaining the bankruptcy process in general and which bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or 13) is best suited to the applicant.
VA Legal Services of
Northern Virginia
$52,000
Legal Services of Northern Virginia’s (LSNV) Spanish Online Intake and Appointment Reminder Project is designed to: (1) help clients with limited proficiency to use an A2J online application that will be developed in a simplified easy-to-understand Spanish language that incorporates audio, video, and graphics, to help applicants apply
for services, and (2) have SMS text and voice messages sent to clients in Spanish
reminding them of upcoming office appointments and court hearings.
WA Northwest
Justice Project
$83,000
Enhance NJP’s online intake system, CLEAR Online, as a more robust triage system. The project will also make CLEAR Online mobile-friendly and bring a Spanish mirror online intake system  to serve the significant monolingual Spanish- speaking population of the state.
  TOTAL
$4,203,221
 

 

INCREASING PRO BONO AMONG THE PRIVATE BAR

LSC requests $5 million for the Pro Bono Innovation Fund (PBIF)—the same amount requested for the past four years. Congress appropriated $4 million for this fund in FY 2015 and FY 2016.

Projects funded under this program develop, test, and replicate innovative pro bono efforts that enable LSC grantees to expand and promote initiatives using volunteer lawyers throughout the country.

In its first three years, the PBIF advanced LSC’s goal of increasing the quantity and quality of legal services by funding projects that more efficiently and effectively involved pro bono volunteers in serving the unmet legal needs of eligible clients. For 2017, LSC will build on these successes by dividing the grants into three categories:

  • Project Grants: focusing on innovations serving unmet and well-defined client needs.
  • Transformation Grants: building comprehensive and effective pro bono projects through new applications of existing best practices.
  • Sustainability Grants: providing continued development support for the most promising innovations.

Although pro bono volunteers cannot replace the work of legal aid lawyers, many of whom are subject-matter experts on the legal issues most common among low-income people, the private bar continues to be a critical resource in addressing the civil legal needs of the low-income community. Private practitioners, in-house corporate counsel, retired lawyers, law students, and paralegals are eager to assist by donating their time.

Over the past three years, LSC has invested over $10 million in 37 different projects in 27 states. These projects have involved collaborations with more than 30 partners, including bar-sponsored volunteer lawyer’s programs, health care providers, technology providers, and law schools.

FY 2016 Pro Bono Awards Help Low-Income Families, Seniors, the Unemployed, and Others

In September 2016, LSC awarded grants to 11 legal aid organizations in 10 states to support innovations in pro bono legal services for low-income clients. Many of the FY 2016 projects will use technology to connect low-income populations to resources and services, while others aim to increase efficiency and effectiveness through partnerships with law schools, corporate legal departments, and community organizations. Some projects will address issues affecting specific populations such as elderly and disabled clients.

Pro Bono grants are competitive, with significant interest from LSC grantees. In 2016, LSC received 56 letters of intent from 28 states requesting an estimated $11.8 million in funding.

The following are examples of projects funded in 2016:

Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP) of DC, Unlocking Unemployment: Pro Bono Partnership to Remove Barriers to Employment

NLSP aims to build on its current collaboration with the DC Public Library to provide free legal resources to jobseekers in the city’s poorest neighborhoods through the use of volunteer attorneys. This project will:

  • Provide workshops, offer one-on-one consultations, and screen attendees who need in-depth assistance to provide information, advice, and extended representation.
  • Reduce or eliminate significant barriers to employment by concentrating on sealing or expunging non-violent criminal records, securing the protections of DC’s new “Ban the Box” law, preventing revocations or suspensions of drivers licenses, and resolving problems associated with credit checking, inaccurate credit reports, and student loans.

Legal Services Law Line of Vermont

Law Line plans to expand its successful legal clinic that offers pro bono representation to defendants in eviction cases where limited scope representation is critical to three additional counties. Vermont Legal Aid is partnering with Law Line to provide volunteer mentoring and:

  • Help tenants fill out complaint forms, identify and evaluate counterclaims, file motions to dismiss, assist tenants with negotiation, and appear on behalf of tenants in front of judges.
  • Bring new attorneys into pro bono work.
  • Establish a similar pilot clinic for debt collection cases to see if the model can be successfully transferred to another docket.

Legal Aid of West Virginia, School and Community Legal Partnership

This project will use pro bono attorneys to provide free onsite advice, brief services, and assistance in completing pro se clinics at the Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School in Charleston, where over 90% of students come from low-income families and live in a community with one of the highest rates of concentrated poverty. In partnership with Handle with Care, a nationally recognized collaboration between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of WV, school staff, and the surrounding community to support neighborhood families, the project will also:

  • Create a follow-up plan for every client who obtained advice to ensure that staff and pro bono attorneys can provide additional assistance if needed.
  • Increase efforts to engage Charleston’s largest law firms and school-based clinics to become involved in the project.

 

2016 PBIF Grants
State Grantee
Grant Amount
Grant Description
CA Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
$413,088
Create an online language-access pro bono training tool for attorneys and interpreters that will connect interpreters with pro bono attorneys. By improving and sharing volunteer resources online, the project will better  serve limited- English proficient individuals in communities across the state. It may also act as a model for other legal services organizations serving linguistically diverse client populations.
CA Legal Aid Society of San Diego
$371,497
In-Home Supportive Services Pro Bono Project will provide advice and representation to elderly and disabled clients receiving in-home assistance. The statewide program allows disabled individuals to stay in their homes rather than be forced into more expensive settings such as nursing homes or board-and-care facilities. The new pro bono project will use volunteer attorneys to assist clients seeking help from In-Home Supportive Services. It will also pilot use of a new case referral and placement system  to increase efficiency, resulting in more clients served.
DC Neighborhood Legal Services Program of
the District of
Columbia
$386,825
The Unlocking Unemployment project will bring volunteer attorneys to walk-in legal clinics located at public libraries readily accessible to community members, and where Wards 7 and 8 residents routinely go to find assistance and computer access for job searches. The clinics will provide in-person information to job seekers as well as connect those with greater legal needs to a legal services organization.
GA Atlanta Legal Aid
Society
$421,310
Create  web-based resources and a centralized structure for pro bono efforts to promote the coordination of resources, volunteer experience, learning, and collaboration. By focusing on strong pro bono administration, the project will enhance pro bono in Atlanta and provide best practices for other legal services organizations trying to create  an effective and efficient pro bono program.
IA Iowa Legal Aid
$364,709
Create  a pro bono program  that is more strategic, efficient, and effective in referring appropriate cases to pro bono attorneys. The project will enlist the help of judges and attorneys to educate attorneys about  the benefits of pro bono service. Through a structured and targeted approach, Iowa Legal Aid will create a well- supported and long-lasting pro bono program.
IN Indiana Legal
Services
$325,837
Integrate ILS into the state’s existing pro bono system, which consists of 12 independent non-profit “Pro Bono Districts” established by the state  supreme court and funded by IOLTA and other sources. A Project Attorney will work with two of the 12 pro bono districts to strengthen the capacity to match volunteers with ILS clients and provide more effective support, training, mentoring, and recognition. The project is designed as a pilot to determine whether this type of participation by ILS could be replicated in other Pro Bono Districts in the state. The project will initially focus on recruiting pro bono engagement from Indianapolis’ ten largest firms.
MN Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services
$286,000
Expand its medical-legal partnership to include clinics staffed by volunteer attorneys performing “legal check-ups.” The project highlights the challenge providing legal services to rural areas that are extremely large and where there is little program visibility. This is exacerbated by the recent and rapid growth of the immigrant and refugee population in the area. Through “legal check-ups” volunteer attorneys will provide advice and brief services; cases requiring extended representation will be referred to other volunteer attorneys or staff. The clinics will be located in and around the city of Mankato, which has the one of the highest poverty rates in the state.
VA Virginia Legal Aid
Society
$327,899
Expand its pro bono program, under the direction of a new pro bono director, to develop strategic partnerships with judges and prominent attorneys in the service area. Other goals include creating a new clinical program with the Liberty University School of Law in which law students will provide services to clients, and supporting the development of a statewide system allowing attorneys to provide pro bono representation to clients through an online pro bono portal.
VT Legal Services Law Line of Vermont
$246,034
Expand its pilot eviction clinic into at least three more counties. The project also seeks to establish a similar pilot clinic for debt collection cases in one county, to see if this model can be transferred successfully to another docket. These clinics will provide services that could have long-term effects on clients’ housing and income. Staffed with volunteer attorneys, the clinic provides representation to tenants facing eviction.
WI Legal Action of
Wisconsin
$377,773
Provide free legal assistance to tenants facing eviction in the high-volume Milwaukee County courthouse. Clinics, staffed by volunteer attorneys, will be held every afternoon at the self-help center at the courthouse to provide advice and brief services to clients coming in for an initial hearing. Volunteer attorneys will assist in evaluating cases, reviewing evidence, identifying evidence, and advising clients. In some cases, volunteer attorneys may assist in negotiating stipulations with landlords. Law students will assist by doing intake and providing other client services. Volunteer attorneys will be staffed at the evidentiary hearings, providing limited scope representation to pre-screened clients who appear for their hearings. Law students will be available to assist volunteer attorneys with representation and presentation during the hearing.
WV Legal Aid of
West Virginia
$279,028
Create a school and community legal partnership in which pro bono attorneys will provide onsite advice, brief services, and assistance in completing pleadings at clinics held at the school. The project includes partnering with Handle with Care, a nationally recognized collaboration between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia, school staff, and the surrounding community to support neighborhood families.
  GRAND TOTAL
$3,800,000
 

 

LSC IS A RESPONSIBLE STEWART OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS

LSC requests $19.5 million for Management and Grants Oversight (MGO)—the same amount requested for the past seven years. Congress appropriated $19 million for MGO in FY 2016, an increase of $500,000 from FY 2015.

The proposed MGO budget would allow LSC to improve oversight, add staff in the Office of Compliance and Enforcement (OCE) and the Office of Program Performance (OPP), increase the number of grantee visits, ensure compliance with good fiscal practice and regulatory and statutory requirements, and improve service delivery to clients. The proposed budget would permit LSC to upgrade our information technology systems and implement improved collection and analysis of data regarding grantees.

2016 Program Visits Chart

Oversight Visits Completed in 2016

LSC’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement (OCE) has primary responsibility for monitoring grantee compliance with the LSC Act, regulations, and funding restrictions. OCE also enforces LSC’s Accounting Guide; initiates questioned-cost proceedings; identifies required corrective actions and necessary follow-ups; and provides technical assistance and training to grantees.

In 2016, OCE conducted 21 onsite visits in 19 states. In addition, OCE staff conducted six Executive Director orientation webinars, a mandatory webinar for all LSC grantees regarding the required elements of a compliant derivative income policy, and a webinar regarding fiscal oversight. OCE expects to complete 20 compliance visits in 2017.

LSC’s Office of Program Performance (OPP) oversees the quality of the legal services provided by LSC grantees. OPP concucts program assessment visits, and provides technical assistance and training. OPP has primary responsibility for administering the competitive grants application and awards process, sharing best practices for providing high-quality civil legal services, and promoting innovative uses of technology by grantees.

In 2016, OPP conducted 43 onsite assessment visits in 27 states. OPP monitored 21 grantees that had special grant conditions to improve performance. OPP expects to complete 51 onsite assessment visits in 2017.

LSC continues to take appropriate corrective actions against grantees that do not comply with the LSC Act and other laws and regulations. Questioned-cost proceedings were completed against four grantees in 2016, and funds were recouped and issues resolved via informal negotiations with three other grantees.

Going Forward

LSC will continue to work with our grantees to maximize their efficiency, effectiveness, and quality; to promote innovation in the delivery of legal services; and to serve as many constituents as possible. Enhanced oversight and additional training will help ensure that LSC funds are well managed and efficiently spent to provide civil legal assistance to clients and to help grantees improve their effectiveness. Increased funding will help meet the critical needs of grantees and the low-income clients they serve, and enable LSC to promote and achieve high standards of fiscal responsibility.

HERBERT S. GARTEN LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

LSC requests $2 million for the Herbert S. Garten Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for FY 2018—a $1 million increase from FY 2016. This is to address the persistent unmet need for loan repayment assistance due to increasing law student debt.

Congress began funding LSC’s LRAP in 2008 at $500,000 and increased the amount to $1 million in 2009. For FY 2018, LSC requests an additional $1 million for this program for two reasons. First, the current funding is insufficient to meet the need for loan repayment assistance among attorneys working at LSC-funded programs. Second, applicants’ educational debt has increased dramatically since the program started.

Past evaluations of the program show that large law school loan debts for legal aid attorneys, coupled with low salaries, constitute major barriers for grantees in hiring and retaining lawyers. The evaluations found that the availability of LRAP mitigates the economic hardships confronting grantee attorneys and increases their ability and willingness to remain with legal aid organizations. Overall, the tenure for LRAP participants was 4.29 years, whereas the tenure for non-participants was 3.58 years. Attorneys who participated in the LSC LRAP as currently structured remained with their funded programs on average an additional 8.5 months, or 20% longer, then those who did not participate.

LRAP has enabled LSC grantees to recruit and retain high-quality attorneys. Currently, participants in LRAP are eligible for up to three years of funding. Each year, assuming they remain in the employment of the LSC grantee and renew their participation, participants receive $5,600 towards the payment of eligible law school loans. Over the course of the three years, a participant can receive a total of $16,800. Increasing funding for LRAP to $2 million would allow us to accept more applicants into the program each year and increase the amount of the loan repayments available.

Turn-Away Rate at Current Funding Levels

LSC uses a lottery selection process to select new participants for each annual cycle. Each year, qualified applicants are denied assistance because of insufficient LRAP funding. LSC has been able to provide loan repayment assistance to an average of 70-80 new participants annually. Over the past five years, LSC has had to turn away a total of 210 applicants, or an average of 42 per year. By doubling the size of the LRAP, we anticipate that we could offer loan repayments to 40 more qualified applicants each year as well as increase the loan repayment amounts. 

Low Salaries of LRAP Attorneys

According to the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), civil legal aid lawyers continue to be the lowest-paid group in the legal profession, earning less than public defenders and other public interest lawyers. Entry-level legal aid attorneys at LSC-funded programs earned a median salary of $46,000 in 2015. With an average of more than $150,000 in law school debt, first-year attorneys participating in LRAP need significant loan repayment assistance to help meet loan obligations, while serving the community they represent.

While the average amount of law school debt by staff attorneys employed at LSC grantees has risen significantly, their average salary has remained mostly flat. Between 2012–2015, the average salary of LRAP-eligible staff attorneys (0-5 years of experience) went from $48,355 to $50,663, an increase of only $2,328 over four years.

Avg LRAP Attorney Salary

During this same time period the number of staff attorneys eligible for LRAP increased. From 2012 to 2015, the number of LRAP-eligible staff attorneys went from 1,758 to 2,005, an increase of 247 eligible potential applicants during a four-year period. The sharp decrease in staff attorneys in 2013 is a reflection of the significant cut in LSC’s funding that year. Grantees were forced to lay off staff attorneys because of funding cuts in 2013. As a result, more entry level positions were filled by LRAP-eligible attorneys when increased funds became available.

Avg Number of LRAP participants

Staggering Law School Debt

Over the past six years, average law school debt among the participants in LRAP has dramatically increased. As the chart below shows, average law school debt in 2011 was $104,000. Five years later, the average debt increased to more than $158,000, a 52% increase. A national study found that the number of law school students expecting to owe more than $120,000 in loans after graduation nearly doubled from 2006 to 2015.81

Law School Debt LRAP


 

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL

(This section was prepared by the OIG and included without change.)

Request

For FY 2018, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is requesting $5.3 million to continue its activities to provide congressionally mandated oversight of federal funds appropriated to LSC. The OIG contributes to LSC’s mission success by providing decision-makers with objective reports and analysis to increase transparency and accountability, enhance performance, and provide proper governance and oversight of LSC and its grant recipients’ programs and operations. 

Mission

The OIG was established under the IG Act of 1978, as amended, as an independent office whose mission is to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse, to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in LSC and grantee programs and operations, and to help ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The professional work of the OIG follows the standards of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) and other governmental and professional organizations. The OIG conducts audits, investigations, and special reviews, as well as a variety of fraud prevention and outreach efforts to protect and maximize Federal taxpayer dollars invested in civil legal aid. In FY 2016, LSC received $385,000,000 in direct federal funding and in FY 2015, LSC grantees received approximately $598,000,000 in non-LSC funding.

Performance

The FY 2018 request is an increment of $300,000 over the FY 2016 appropriation amount for requisite inflationary personnel and travel cost increases. It will enable the OIG to bolster its record of accomplishments to help improve the integrity and accountability of LSC and its grantee programs and operations. 

In FY 2016 the OIG

Audited over $17,000,000 in LSC grant funds by performing audits of LSC and its 133 grantees. These audits resulted in the OIG issuing 129 formal recommendations for program and operational improvements to LSC grantees and for questioned cost recoveries. Questioned cost recommendations and LSC management decisions, sustaining prior OIG audit questioned costs, totaled more than $147,000. The OIG issued a revised Compliance Supplement for use in the annual audits of all LSC recipients and released the Corporation’s 2015 financial statement audit noting no significant deficiencies.

Closed 44 investigations involving matters such as theft of client funds, fraud, false claims and improper expenditures of LSC funds. Cases arising from OIG investigations resulted in six criminal referrals to prosecutorial authorities and one arrest; LSC management sustained or recovered questioned costs from prior investigative referrals of $77,000; and initiated new investigative questioned cost referrals of $46,000.

Delivered a Compendium Report of all OIG findings and recommendations from the FY 2014 and 2015 audits of over $65,500,000 in LSC grant funds, outlining 166 recommendations to improve internal controls at LSC grantees. The OIG also issued a memorandum highlighting OIG findings related to the high-risk area of grantee contracting and provided recommendations for contracting best practices. LSC Management subsequently issued expanded and improved procurement guidance to all LSC grantees, who expend tens of millions of LSC dollars in contracts annually.

Conducted an active educational outreach and fraud prevention program, including eight Fraud Vulnerability Assessments, seven Regulatory Vulnerability Assessments, and three Fraud Awareness Briefings. The OIG also produced a grantee advisory on preventing and minimizing fraud, waste, and abuse in client trust accounts.

In 2015, the OIG received the CIGIE Award for Excellence for the OIG’s Fraud Prevention Program, which included completing and distributing a Fraud Prevention Guide and continuing to educate grantee employees at all LSC grantee programs.

Since 1996, LSC’s annual Congressional appropriations have directed that grantee compliance with legal requirements be monitored through the annual grantee audits conducted by independent public accountants (IPAs) under the guidance of the OIG. The OIG reviewed all grant recipient audit reports and referred significant fiscal and compliance findings to LSC management for corrective action. Further, as the OIG is tasked with ensuring the quality of audits of LSC and its grantees, the OIG has an ongoing Quality Control Review (QCR) program, designed to assess all grantee IPAs’ work over a four-year cycle or 35 per year. This program has enabled the OIG to identify deficiencies in IPA work, leading to the debarment of four IPAs for inadequate work (two in FY 2016); improve IPAs’ compliance with applicable standards and OIG guidance; and improve the overall effectiveness and quality of LSC grantee audits. 

In FY 2016, the OIG provided significant recommendations on the revision of LSC Strategic Plan for years 2017 to 2020 aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the legal services program. The OIG also provided comments and recommendations on several LSC regulations, policies, and practices including: Regulations on Recipient Purchasing and Property Management; Cost Standards and Procedures; Subgrants and Membership Fees; Procedures for Disclosure of Information Under the Freedom of Information Act; and Bonding of Recipients.

Internally, the OIG continued to modernize its information technology (IT) and management systems, improving operational efficiencies by moving to virtual and cloud computing environments, providing improved capabilities while reducing IT costs.

Overall, the work of the OIG helps to ensure that LSC and its grantees are functioning as responsible stewards of taxpayer funds, and reduces opportunities for fraud, waste, and abuse. These and other achievements are reported in the OIG’s Semiannual Reports to Congress (https://www.oig.lsc.gov/products/sar).

Planned Activities

In FY 2018, guided by the OIG Strategic Plan for 2015-2019, the OIG will use its continual risk assessments and annual work planning process to help allocate available OIG resources. The OIG will perform its statutory requirements including fraud prevention and detection, promoting economy and efficiency of LSC and its grant recipients, and oversight of the grantee audit process. The OIG will respond to requests from the Congress, the Board of Directors, LSC management, and other interested parties. Reviews will target the following OIG-identified LSC management challenge areas: performance management and accountability; grants management and procurement; governance and control systems; human capital management; and information technology management and security.

A major component of the FY 2018 budget request is funding the OIG’s operation of the LSC audit program. The OIG will continue to objectively audit LSC and grantee operations and review all LSC grant recipients’ annual audits, including financial statements, internal controls, and compliance with mandated restrictions and prohibitions. The OIG refers significant audit findings to LSC Management for resolution and tracks corrective actions. The OIG continues to fund and oversee the annual audit of LSC’s financial statements.

The OIG will conduct investigations of criminal and civil fraud committed against LSC and its grant recipients, and operate a national fraud, waste, and abuse reporting hotline. The OIG conducts compliance investigations, administrative inquiries, fraud and regulatory vulnerability assessments, and fraud prevention briefings.

Further, the OIG will continue to improve effectiveness and efficiency in grants management, administration, and operation of LSC and its grantees through its reviews and advisories, and will provide reviews and comments on significant legislative, regulatory, management, and policy initiatives affecting LSC.

If fully funded, this request will allow the OIG to perform additional reviews of grant recipient operations and subrecipient oversight, and to continue the comprehensive audit quality control review program at a rate of 35 QCRs per year. The OIG will expand reviews of client trust funds and continue its IT security vulnerability reviews of LSC grantees based on the initial results of these new programs. Internally, the OIG will continue to improve its own effective operations by ensuring the recruitment and retention of a highly skilled, high-performing OIG workforce; maintain IT systems support; and implement updated investigative and audit information systems to facilitate the efficient and secure production and timely delivery of professional OIG work.

The request includes $60,000 to satisfy foreseeable OIG professional training requirements required to maintain the OIG professional credentials for FY 2018. The OIG also anticipates contributing $15,000 to meet our obligations to support the operations of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.

The submitted budget request is necessary for the LSC OIG to adequately perform the legislative missions required by the Inspector General Act, as amended, and to provide objective, relevant, and timely reporting to the Congress and LSC on core management challenges and oversight issues, thereby increasing public confidence in the proper expenditure of limited LSC funds. This funding amount is critical to maintain stability in OIG operations and performance.

The OIG greatly appreciates the continuing support of the Congress and the LSC Board as it carries out its mandated mission.


ENDNOTES

  1. In May 2017, Congress passed a final FY 2017 omnibus appropriations bill that includes $385 million for LSC.
  2. Source: Historical data based on U.S. Census Bureau, 2007-2014 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates.
  3. “Documenting the Justice Gap in America: the Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans,” September 2005. An Updated Report of the Legal Services Corporation, September 2009.
  4. http://www.arkansasjustice.org/sites/default/files/file%20attachments/2016-Annual-Report_final.pdf.
  5. http://www.flaccesstojustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Florida-Commission-ATJ-Interim-Report.pdf.
  6. http://www.bostonbar.org/docs/default-document-library/statewide-task-force-to-expand-civil-legal-aid-in-ma-investing-in-justice.pdf.
  7.  http://www.michbar.org/file/programs/atj/pdfs/JusticeGap.pdf.
  8.  https://www.nycourts.gov/accesstojusticecommission/PDF/2015_Access_to_Justice-Report-V5.pdf.
  9.  http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_aid_indigent_defendants/ATJReports/ls_WA_clns_2015b.authcheckdam.pdf.
  10.  National Center for Access to Justice, Justice Index 2016, http://justiceindex.org/2016-findings/self-represented-litigants/.
  11. Hawaii data from Mark Recktenwald, Chief Justice, Hawaii Supreme Court, LSC Board of Directors Meeting, San Francisco, CA. Judicial Panel: The Importance of Access to Justice to the Judiciary, October 15, 2015; New York data from The Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York. Report to the Chief Judge of the State of New York, State of New York, Unified Court System, November 2014, p.20.; Philadelphia Landlord-Tenant data from Philadelphia Legal Assistance analysis of Philadelphia Municipal Court data, https://fjdclaims.phila.gov/phmuni/login.do; Philadelphia Credit Card Collection cases from Philadelphia Legal Assistance analysis of data from Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County http://fjdefile.phila.gov/efsfjd/zk_fjd_public_qry_00.zp_main_idx and the Philadelphia Department of Records, http://epay.phila-records.com/phillyepay/web/login.jsp.
  12. Services for Self-Represented Litigants in Arkansas. A Report to the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission. July 2013, p.10. www.arkansasjustice.org/sites/default/files/file%20attachments/Arkansas%20Final%20Report%207-26-13.pdf.
  13. The courts with the highest numbers of self-represented litigants were in the Southeast and Western part of the state, where the counties with the five lowest per capita income counties are located. http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/courts-and-judges/courts/housing-court/hc-2015-additional-departments-stats.pdf.
  14.  LSC Board of Directors has held judicial panel forums at its quarterly meetings from 2012 to present. Please see LSC’s website for video links to the panels.
  15. http://iaals.du.edu/sites/default/files/documents/publications/cases_without_counsel_research_report.pdf.
  16. http://iaals.du.edu/sites/default/files/documents/publications/10-2016_atj.pdf.
  17. “The Importance of Funding for the Legal Services Corporation from the Perspective of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators,” Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators, 2013.
  18. Information in this section and in Table I is based on a Philadelphia Legal Assistance analysis of Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County data (http://fjdefile.phila.gov/efsfjd/zk_fjd_public_qry_00.zp_main_idx) and the Philadelphia Department of Records data (http://epay.phila-records.com/phillyepay/web/login.jsp).
  19. Information in this section and in Table II are based on a Philadelphia Legal Assistance analysis of Philadelphia Municipal Court data accessed at https://fjdclaims.phila.gov/phmuni/login.do.
  20. Data for Utah District Courts, Calendar Year 2015, provided by Utah Administrative Office of the Courts.
  21. State studies include Alabama: The Alabama Access to Justice Commission. The Legal Needs of Low-Income Alabamians, A Needs Assessment & Analysis. The Alabama Access to Justice Commission. (2007). Connecticut: Center for Survey Research & Analysis at the University of Connecticut. Civil Legal Needs Among Low Income Households in Connecticut. Connecticut Bar Foundation. (2008). Georgia: A.L. Burress Institute of Public Service and Research – Kennesaw State University.). Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia. Committee on Civil Justice – Supreme Court of Georgia Equal Justice Commission. (Report Drawn from the 2007/2008 Georgia Legal Needs Study). (2009). Illinois: Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Foundation, Illinois Bar Foundation, Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, The Legal Aid Safety Net: A Report on the Legal Needs of Low-Income Illinoisans. (2005). Massachusetts: Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas, Inc. Massachusetts Legal Needs Survey Findings from A Survey of Legal Needs of Low-Income Households in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation. (2003). Nevada: Gene Kroupa & Associates, LLC. Nevada Civil Legal Needs Survey. Nevada Supreme Court, Access to Justice Commission. (2008). Tennessee: The University of Tennessee College of Social Work Office of Research and Public Service. Report from the Statewide Comprehensive Legal Needs Survey for 2003. The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. (2004). Virginia: Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, Virginia Legal Needs Survey. Findings from a Survey of Legal Needs of Low-Income Households in Virginia. (2007). Washington: Office of Civil Legal Aid. Washington Civil Legal Needs Study Update. Washington State Supreme Court. (2015). Wisconsin: Gene Kroupa & Associates. Bridging the Justice Gap: Wisconsin’s Unmet Legal Needs. Access to Justice Study Committee, State Bar of Wisconsin. (2007).
  22. The Justice Index methodology defines legal aid organizations as those that “employ FTE attorneys and provide direct legal services to clients with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.” See Justice Index 2016.
  23. Methodology, Research, Data Collection, and Indexing Methodology, “Attorney Access: Counting the Number of Lawyers for the Poor.” http://justiceindex.org/methodology/.
  24. The log transformation is a standard technique in statistical analysis to reduce the skew in data. This transformation is applied to improve the interpretability or appearance of graphs or to meet basic assumptions of statistical modelling techniques.
  25. The number of households was calculated based on the estimated legal services demand gap for FY18. The first row represents 1% of the 8,381,177 households in the FY18 demand gap. The second line represents 5%, etc.
  26. The cost to serve a single household was based on the average cost per civil case closure over a three-year period, 2014-2016.
  27. Additional funding needed is the simple product of the number of households multiplied by the average cost per case closure.
  28. 28 Additional basic field funding needed plus the FY16 basic field appropriations of $352 million.
  29. The studies cited use a range of methodologies to calculate savings and benefits including shelter costs, domestic violence impacts, state services, and federal benefits. The variation in methodology makes comparing summary statistics, such as return on investment, difficult. LSC uses relevant portions of the studies that can be understood independently.
  30. The Florida Bar Foundation, Economic Impacts of Civil Legal Aid Organizations in Florida. November 4, 2016.
  31. Maine’s Justice Action Group, Economic Impact of Civil Legal Aid Services in Maine. By Todd Gabe, Ph.D., November 2016.
  32. Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, Civil Legal Aid Yields Economic Benefits to Clients and to the Commonwealth: Examples of Benefits from FY15 Advocacy. 2016.
  33. Minnesota Legal Services Coalition, Economic Impact Measurements of Minnesota Legal Aid. 2016.
  34. Montana Legal Services Association, The Economic Impact of Civil Legal Aid to the State of Montana. 2015.
  35. Permanent Commission on Access to Justice, Report to the Chief Judge of the State of New York. November 2015.
  36. The Tennessee Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee and the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative, Economic Impact of Civil Legal Aid Organizations in Tennessee. March 2015.
  37. Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, Report to the Commonwealth and the General Assembly FY 2014-2015.
  38. U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1701: Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months.
  39. Calculated from U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1701, and unpublished data from the U.S. Census Bureau the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) provided to LSC by the Census Bureau.
  40. Calculated from U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1703: Selected Characteristics of People at Specified Levels of Poverty in the Past 12 Months.
  41. U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1703.
  42. Calculated from 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1701 and Table S2101.
  43. U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1703.
  44. Ethan Bronner, “No Lawyer for Miles, So One Rural State Offers Pay”, New York Times, April 8, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/us/subsidy-seen-as-a-way-to-fill-a-need-for-rural-lawyers.html.
  45. http://chavis.bangordailynews.com/2017/02/22/home/the-justice-gap-in-rural-america/.
  46. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/us/subsidy-seen-as-a-way-to-fill-a-need-for-rural-lawyers.html.
  47. National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) defines domestic violence as “rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault committed by intimate partners, immediate family members, or other relatives.” Domestic violence includes both “family violence” and “intimate partner violence” (IPV). Family violence includes “all types of violent crime committed by an offender who is related to the victim either biologically or legally through marriage or adoption,” while IPV “includes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression (including coercive tactics) by a current or former intimate partner.” U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics BLS), Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances. 2005; DOJ, BLS, Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003–2012, April 2014; Breiding, M.J., Chen J., & Black, M.C., Intimate Partner Violence in the United States — 2010. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, 2014.
  48. Grantee Activity Reports. 2012-2016.
  49. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003–2012, by Jennifer L. Truman, Ph.D., and Rachel E. Morgan, Ph.D., April 2014, page 3.
  50. Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  51. Ibid.
  52. Supporting Survivors, The Economic Benefits of Providing Civil Legal Assistance to Survivors of Domestic Violence, Institute for Policy Integrity, July 2015.
  53. Judy Hails Kaci, Aftermath of Seeking Domestic Violence Protective Orders: The Victim’s Perspective, 10 J. of Contemp. Crim. Just. 204 (1994). But see Andrew R. Klein, Re-Abuse in a Population of Court-Restrained Male Batterers: Why Restraining Orders Don’t Work, in Do Arrests and Restraining Orders Work? 192 (Eve S. Buzawa & Carl G. Buzawa, eds., 1996) (describing the results of a study Supporting Survivors: The Economic Benefits of Providing Civil Legal Assistance to Survivors of Domestic Violence | Endnotes 26 conducted in Quincy, Massachusetts where the mere issuance of a restraining order failed to prevent future abuse against victims in nearly 50 percent of cases, but noting that the results shed no light on whether the order lessened the severity of the continued abuse or the number of abusive episodes.)
  54. Jane Murphy, Engaging with the State: The Growing Reliance on Lawyers and Judges to Protect Battered Women, 11 Am. U. J. Gender Soc. Pol’y & L. 499, 511-12 (2003).
  55. National Center for Injury Prevention & Control, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Intimate Partner Violence in the United States—2010 (2014), available at http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/cdc_nisvs_ipv_ report_2013_v17_single_a.pdf [hereinafter National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS)]; see also National Center for Injury Prevention & Control, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report (2011), available at http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_ report2010-a.pdf.
  56. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States (Atlanta, GA: 2003).
  57. Calculated from 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1701 and Table S2101.
  58. Legal Services Corporation Grant Activities Report data for cases with household members who are veterans multiplied by the average number of persons in households for closed cases.
  59. Table S2101 from the 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates and Table S1701 from the 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.
  60. U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S2101, Veteran Status; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development, The 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, November 2016, EXHIBIT 5.2: Percent of Homeless Veterans by Sheltered Status, 2016).
  61. The 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress Part 1, EXHIBIT 5.2: Percent of Homeless Veterans By Sheltered Status).
  62. National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, Background and Statistics, accessed March 22, 2017. http://nchv.org/index.php/news/media/background_and_statistics/.
  63. Legal Services Corporation Grant Activities Report data for closed housing cases multiplied by the average number of persons in households for closed cases.
  64. Boston Bar Association Task Force on the Civil Right to Counsel, The Importance of Representation in Eviction Cases and Homelessness Prevention, Boston Bar Association, March 2012, p.15.
  65. How to Solve the Housing Crisis: More Lawyers, Patrick Clark | April 8, 2016. Bloomberg. https://www.bgov.com/core/news/#!/articles/O5BAK36KLVVS.
  66. According to a Connecticut Law Review paper. www.connecticutlawreview.org/files/2015/01/9-Steinberg.pdf.
  67. See note 64.
  68. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2015 1-year estimates, Table S1703: Selected Characteristics of People at Specified Levels of Poverty in The Past 12 Months.
  69. Legal Services Corporation Grant Activities Report data for the average number of persons in households for closed cases multiplied by the sum of the following closed cases: all cases involving Special Ed./Learning Disabilities, SSDI, Mental Health, and Disability Rights, plus 50% of School Discipline (incl. Expulsion & Suspension) cases, 40% of Employment Discrimination cases, 40% of Housing Discrimination cases, 85% of SSI cases, 20% of Neglected/Abused/Depend cases, 10% of Medicaid cases, and 15% of Medicare cases.
  70. U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, Alternative Poverty Estimates Based on National Academy of Sciences Recommendations, by Selected Demographic Characteristics and by Region (CE): 2015.
  71. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. (2016). Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2015. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Figure 34. Presence of any retirement savings (by age and employment status).
  72. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2015 1-year estimates, Table S0103: Population 65 Years and Over in The United States.
  73. Matthew W. Brault, Americans with Disabilities: 2010. Household Economic Studies. Current Population Reports. P70-131, U.S. Department of Commerce. Economics and Statistics Administration. U.S. Census Bureau, Table 1.
  74. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, “CFPB Helps Assisted Living and Nursing Facilities Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse,” JUN 19, 2014. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-helps-assisted-living-and-nursing-facilities-protect-seniors-from-financial-abuse/, accessed 3/3/17.
  75. National Consumer Law Center, Helping Elderly Homeowners Victimized by Predatory Mortgage Loans, Consumer Concerns, Information for Advocates Representing Older Adults, November 2008.
  76. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2015 1-year estimates, Table S1703: Selected Characteristics of People at Specified Levels of Poverty in The Past 12 Months.
  77. National Center on Elder Abuse, Abuse of Adults with a Disability, Research Brief, undated; Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2012). The Risk and Prevention of Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau; Nancy Smith, Sandra Harrell, Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities: A National Snapshot, Vera Institute of Justice, Center On Victimization and Safety, Issue Brief, March 2013; Disability Justice, Abuse and Exploitation of People with Developmental Disabilities, http://disabilityjustice.org/justice-denied/abuse-and-exploitation/.
  78. Erika Harrell, Crime Against Persons with Disabilities, 2009-2014 - Statistical Tables, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2016, NCJ 250200, p.3.
  79. Nancy Smith, Sandra Harrell, Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities: A National Snapshot, Vera Institute of Justice, Center On Victimization and Safety, Issue Brief, March 2013, p.3.
  80. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Annual Report on the State of Fair Housing in America, November 2014.
  81. National Fair Housing Alliance, Where You Live Matters: 2015 Fair Housing Trends Report. 2015.
  82. Diane K. Levy, Margery A. Turner, Rob Santos, Doug Wissoker, Claudia L. Aranda, Rob Pitingolo, Helen Ho, Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market Against People Who Are Deaf and People Who Use Wheelchairs: National Study Findings, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, June 25, 2015.
  83. How a Decade of Debt Changed the Law Student Experience, The Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSE), 2015 Annual Survey Results.

A-1 APPENDIX 

 

LEGAL SERVICES BY JURISDICTION, STATE-BY-STATE

 


 

B-1 APPENDIX - FY 2018 BUDGET REQUEST TABLES

 

BUDGET REQUEST — FISCAL YEAR 2018

(dollars in thousands)

 
(1)
FY 2017 Request
 
(2)
FY 2017 Funding
 
(3)
F
Y 2018 Request
I. DELIVERY OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE
477,000
 
360,000
 
501,000
A. PROGRAM SERVICES TO CLIENTS
467,000
 
352,000
 
491,000
1. Basic Field Programs
467,000
 
352,000
 
491,000
B. TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES
5,000
 
4,000
 
5,000
C. SANDY DISASTER RELIEF FUNDS
-
 
-
 
-
D. PRO BONO INNOVATION FUNDS
5,000
 
4,000
 
5,000
II. LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
1,000
 
1,000
 
2,000
III. MANAGEMENT & GRANTS OVERSIGHT
19,500
 
19,000
 
19,500
IV. OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
5,200
 
5,000
 
5,300
TOTAL
502,700
 
385,000
 
527,800

 


BUDGET IN BRIEF— FISCAL YEAR 2018

(dollars in thousands)

 
2016 Budget 
 2017 Budget
2018 Estimate
Change from
2017 to 2018
 
Amount
Perm
Posns
Amount
Perm
Posns
Amount
Perm
Posns
Amount
Perm
Posns
I. CLIENT SERVICES
365,919
 
364,728
 
501,000
 
136,272
 
Appropriation
360,000
 
359,116
 
501,000
 
141,884
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
1,337
 
922
 
-
 
(922)
 
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
2,500
 
2,500
 
-
 
(2,500)
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
12
 
29
 
-
 
(29)
 
Other Funds Available
2,070
 
2,161
 
-
 
(2,161)
 
A. PROGRAM SERVICES TO CLIENTS
357,723
 
356,773
 
491,000
 
134,227
 
Appropriation
352,000
 
351,331
 
491,000
 
139,669
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
1,141
 
752
 
-
 
(752)
 
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
2,500
 
2,500
 
-
 
(2,500)
 
Funds Carried Forward from
Previous Year
12
 
29
 
-
 
(29)
 
Other Funds Available
2,070
 
2,161
 
-
 
(2,161)
 
B. TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES
4,141
 
4,107
 
5,000
 
893
 
Appropriation
4,000
 
3,992
 
5,000
 
1,008
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
141
 
115
 
-
 
(115)
 
C. SANDY DISASTER RELIEF FUNDS
55
 
55
 
-
 
(55)
 
Appropriation
-
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
55
 
55
 
-
 
(55)
 
D. PRO BONO INNOVATION FUNDS
4,000
 
3,793
 
5,000
 
1,207
 
Appropriation
4,000
 
3,793
 
5,000
 
1,207
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
-
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
II. LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
2,465
 
2,480
 
2,978
 
498
 
Appropriation
1,000
 
998
 
2,000
 
1,002
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
1,465
 
1,482
 
978
 
(504)
 
III. MANAGEMENT & GRANTS OVERSIGHT
25,035
109
25,468
112
22,810
112
(2,658)
-
Appropriation
19,000
109
19,163
112
19,500
112
337
-
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
6,027
 
6,305
 
3,300
 
(3,005)
 
Other Funds Available
8
 
-
 
10
 
10
 
IV. OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
5,651
30
5,928
30
5,600
30
(328)
-
Appropriation
5,000
30
4,990
30
5,300
30
310
-
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
651
 
938
 
300
 
(638)
 
TOTAL - REQUIREMENTS
399,070
139
398,604
142
532,388
142
133,784
-
Appropriation
385,000
139
384,267
142
527,800
142
143,533
-
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
9,480
 
9,647
 
4,578
 
(5,069)
 
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
2,500
 
2,500
 
-
 
(2,500)
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
12
 
29
 
-
 
(29)
 
Other Funds Available
2,078
 
2,161
 
10
 
(2,151)
 

BUDGET IN BRIEF— FISCAL YEAR 2018

(dollars in thousands)

 
2016 Budget 
 2017 Budget
2018 Estimate
Change from
2017 to 2018
 
Amount
Perm
Posns
Amount
Perm
Posns
Amount
Perm
Posns
Amount
Perm
Posns
I. CLIENT SERVICES
365,919
 
364,728
 
501,000
 
136,272
 
Appropriation
360,000
 
359,116
 
501,000
 
141,884
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
1,337
 
922
 
-
 
(922)
 
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
2,500
 
2,500
 
-
 
(2,500)
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
12
 
29
 
-
 
(29)
 
Other Funds Available
2,070
 
2,161
 
-
 
(2,161)
 
A. PROGRAM SERVICES TO CLIENTS
357,723
 
356,773
 
491,000
 
134,227
 
Appropriation
352,000
 
351,331
 
491,000
 
139,669
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
1,141
 
752
 
-
 
(752)
 
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
2,500
 
2,500
 
-
 
(2,500)
 
Funds Carried Forward from
Previous Year
12
 
29
 
-
 
(29)
 
Other Funds Available
2,070
 
2,161
 
-
 
(2,161)
 
B. TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES
4,141
 
4,107
 
5,000
 
893
 
Appropriation
4,000
 
3,992
 
5,000
 
1,008
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
141
 
115
 
-
 
(115)
 
C. SANDY DISASTER RELIEF FUNDS
55
 
55
 
-
 
(55)
 
Appropriation
-
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
55
 
55
 
-
 
(55)
 
D. PRO BONO INNOVATION FUNDS
4,000
 
3,793
 
5,000
 
1,207
 
Appropriation
4,000
 
3,793
 
5,000
 
1,207
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
-
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
II. LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
2,465
 
2,480
 
2,978
 
498
 
Appropriation
1,000
 
998
 
2,000
 
1,002
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
1,465
 
1,482
 
978
 
(504)
 
III. MANAGEMENT & GRANTS OVERSIGHT
25,035
109
25,468
112
22,810
112
(2,658)
-
Appropriation
19,000
109
19,163
112
19,500
112
337
-
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
6,027
 
6,305
 
3,300
 
(3,005)
 
Other Funds Available
8
 
-
 
10
 
10
 
IV. OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
5,651
30
5,928
30
5,600
30
(328)
-
Appropriation
5,000
30
4,990
30
5,300
30
310
-
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
651
 
938
 
300
 
(638)
 
TOTAL - REQUIREMENTS
399,070
139
398,604
142
532,388
142
133,784
-
Appropriation
385,000
139
384,267
142
527,800
142
143,533
-
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
9,480
 
9,647
 
4,578
 
(5,069)
 
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
2,500
 
2,500
 
-
 
(2,500)
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
12
 
29
 
-
 
(29)
 
Other Funds Available
2,078
 
2,161
 
10
 
(2,151)
 

 


APPROPRIATION REQUEST IN RELATION TO FUNDS AVAILABLE

(dollars in thousands)

 
Positions
Amount
1. Total Funds Available in Fiscal Year 2017    
Appropriation,  FY 2017
142
384,267
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year  
9,647
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds  
2,500
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year  
29
Other Funds Available, FY 2017  
2,161
Total available in FY 2017
142
398,604
     
2. Request for Fiscal Year 2018 – Summary of Changes    
Appropriation,  FY 2017
142
384,267
Adjustment to Base
-
143,533
Appropriation,  FY 2018
142
527,800
     
3. Total Funds Available in Fiscal Year 2018    
Requested Appropriation
142
527,800
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year  
4,578
Other Funds Available  
10
Total available in FY 2018
142
532,388

PROGRAM AND FINANCING FOR FEDERAL APPROPRIATIONS — FISCAL YEARS 2016, 2017, & 2018

(dollars in thousands)

 
2016
Budget
2017
Budget
2018
Estimate
I. CLIENT SERVICES      
A. Program Services to Clients
357,723
356,773
491,000
B. Technology Initiatives
4,141
4,107
5,000
C. Sandy Disaster Relief Funds
55
55
-
D. Pro Bono Innovation Funds
4,000
3,793
5,000
II. LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
2,465
2,480
2,978
III. MANAGEMENT & GRANTS OVERSIGHT
25,035
25,468
22,810
IV. OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
5,651
5,928
5,600
Total program costs, funded
399,070
398,604
532,388
Change in Selected Resources:      
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
(9,480)
(9,647)
(4,578)
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
(2,500)
(2,500)
-
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
(12)
(29)
-
Other Funds Available
(2,078)
(2,161)
(10)
Total obligations (object class 41)
385,000
384,267
527,800
Financing:      
Budget Authority (appropriation)
385,000
384,267
527,800
Relation of obligations to outlays:      
Obligations incurred, net
385,000
384,267
527,800
Obligated balance, start of year
90,335
89,752
76,087
Obligated balance, end of year
(89,752)
(76,087)
(96,411)
Outlays
385,583
397,932
507,476

 

ACTIVITIES IN BRIEF

(dollars in thousands)

 
2017 Budget
2018 Base
2018 Estimate
Inc. (+) or Dec. (-)
2018 Base to 2018 Est
.
 
Amount
Perm
P
osns
Amount
Perm
P
osns
Amount
Perm
P
osns
Amount
Perm
P
osns
I. CLIENT SERVICES                
Total
364,728
 
359,116
 
501,000
 
141,884
 
Appropriation
359,116
 
359,116
 
501,000
 
141,884
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
3,083
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
2,500
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
29
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Other Funds Available
-
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
A. PROGRAM SERVICES TO CLIENTS                
Total
356,773
 
351,331
 
491,000
 
139,669
 
Appropriation
351,331
 
351,331
 
491,000
 
139,669
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
2,913
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
2,500
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Funds Carried Forward from
Previous Year
29
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
1. Basic Field Programs                
Total
352,083
 
351,331
 
491,000
 
139,669
 
Appropriation
351,331
 
351,331
 
491,000
 
139,669
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
752
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
2. Grants from Other Funds Available                
Total
2,161
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Appropriation
-
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
2,161
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
3. US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds                
Total
2,529
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Appropriation
-
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
2,500
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
29
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
B. TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES                
Total
4,107
 
3,992
 
5,000
 
1,008
 
Appropriation
3,992
 
3,992
 
5,000
 
1,008
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
115
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
C. SANDY DISASTER RELIEF FUNDS                
Total
55
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Appropriation
-
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
55
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
D. PRO BONO INNOVATION FUNDS                
Total
3,793
 
3,793 
 
5,000  
 
1,207
 
Appropriation
3,793
 
3,793 
 
5,000  
 
1,207
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
-
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
II. LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM                
Total
2,480
 
1,976
 
2,978
 
1,002
 
Appropriation
998
 
998
 
2,000
 
1,002
 
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
1,482
 
978
 
978
 
-
 
III. MANAGEMENT & GRANTS OVERSIGHT                
Total
25,468
112
22,473
112
22,810
112
337
-
Appropriation
19,163
112
19,163
112
19,500
112
337
-
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
6,305
 
3,300
 
3,300
 
-
 
Other Funds Available
-
 
10
 
10
 
-
 
IV. OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL                
Total
5,928
30
5,290
30
5,600
30
310
-
Appropriation
4,990
30
4,990
30
5,300
30
310
-
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
938
 
300
 
300
 
-
 
TOTAL                                                                            
398,604
142
388,855
142
532,388
142
143,533
-
Appropriation
384,267
142
384,267
142
527,800
142
143,533
-
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
11,808
 
4,578
 
4,578
 
-
 
US Court of Veterans Appeals Funds
2,500
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Funds Carried Forward from
Previous Year
29
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Other Funds Available
-
 
10
 
10
 
-
 

 

APPROPRIATION BUDGET BY ACTIVITY — FISCAL YEARS 2017 & 2018 (dollars in thousands)

 
2016 Funds
Carried Forward
to 2017
2017 Budget
2018 Base
2018 Estimate
 
Amount
Perm
P
osns
Amount
Perm
P
osns
Amount
Perm
P
osns
Amount
Perm
P
osns
Management & Grants Oversight
-
 
19,163
112
19,163
112
19,500
112
Funds Carried Forward
6,305
 
-
 
3,300
 
3,300
 
Other Funds Available
-
 
-
 
10
 
10
 
Office of Inspector General
-
 
4,990
30
4,990
30
5,300
30
Funds Carried Forward
938
 
-
 
300
 
300
 
SUBTOTAL
7,243
 
24,153
142
27,763
142
28,410
142
Program Activities
-
 
359,116
 
359,116
 
501,000
 
Funds Carried Forward
3,083
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Veterans Appeals Funds
-
 
2,500
 
-
 
-
 
Funds Carried Forward
29
 
-
 
-
 
-
 
Loan Repayment Asst Program
-
 
998
 
998
 
2,000
 
Funds Carried Forward
1,482
 
-
 
978
 
978
 
TOTAL
11,837
 
386,767
142
388,855
142
532,388
142

 


MANAGEMENT & GRANTS OVERSIGHT BUDGET BY OBJECT CLASS — FISCAL YEARS 2017 & 2018

(dollars in thousands)

 
Management &
Grants Oversight
Program Authorities
Totals
 
OBJECT CLASS
2017
2018
2017
2018
2017
2018
CHANGE
Personnel Compensation
11,884
11,803
   
11,884
11,803
(81)
Employee Benefits
4,271
4,483
   
4,271
4,483
212
Other Personnel Services
721
711
   
721
711
(10)
Consulting
965
621
   
965
621
(344)
Travel and Transportation
1,033
1,154
   
1,033
1,154
121
Communications
118
113
   
118
113
(5)
Occupancy Costs
1,810
1,746
   
1,810
1,746
(64)
Printing and Reproduction
66
71
   
66
71
5
Other Operating Expenses
4,454
1,943
   
4,454
1,943
(2,511)
Capital Expenditures
146
165
   
146
165
19
Total for Management & Grants Oversight
25,468
22,810
-
-
25,468
22,810
(2,658)

 

Sources of Funds for Management & Grants Oversight

 
Totals
 
2017
2018
Appropriation
19,163
19,500
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
6,305
3,300
Other Funds Available
-
10
Total
25,468
22,810

 

INSPECTOR GENERAL BUDGET BY OBJECT CLASS — FISCAL YEARS 2017 & 2018

(dollars in thousands)

 
Mgt. & Grants Oversight,
& Inspector General
Program Authorities
Totals
 
OBJECT CLASS
2017
2018
2017
2018
2017
2018
CHANGE
Personnel Compensation
3,220
3,458
   
3,220
3,458
238
Employee Benefits
967
1,006
   
967
1,006
39
Other Personnel Services
25
15
   
25
15
(10)
Consulting
600
435
   
600
435
(165)
Travel and Transportation
260
235
   
260
235
(25)
Communications
21
20
   
21
20
(1)
Occupancy Costs
2
4
   
2
4
2
Printing and Reproduction
18
18
   
18
18
-
Other Operating Expenses
765
384
   
765
384
(381)
Capital Expenditures
50
25
   
50
25
(25)
Total for Inspector General
5,928
5,600
-
-
5,928
5,600
(328)

 

Sources of Funds for Inspector General
 
Totals
 
2017
2018
Appropriation
4,990
5,300
Funds Carried Forward from Previous Year
938
300
Total
5,928
5,600


STAFF POSITIONS — FISCAL YEARS 2016, 2017, & 2018

 
2016 Budget
2017 Budget
2018 Estimate
 
Number of
Positions*
Change
From 2016
Number of
Positions*
Change
From 2017
Number of
Positions*
OFFICE          
Executive Office
8
(1)
7
0
7
Legal Affairs
8
0
8
0
8
Government Relations / Public Affairs
7
1
8
0
8
Human Resources
6
0
6
0
6
Financial & Administrative Services
11
0
11
0
11
Information Technology
8
0
8
0
8
Program Performance
28
2
30
0
30
Data Governance & Analysis
5
1
6
0
6
Compliance & Enforcement
28
0
28
0
28
 
109
3
112
0
112
Inspector General
30
0
30
0
30
TOTAL
139
3
142
0
142
* Full-time equivalents          
  • 1. In May 2017, Congress passed a final FY 2017 omnibus appropriations bill that includes $385 million for LSC.
  • 2. Source: Historical data based on U.S. Census Bureau, 2007-2014 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates
  • 3. “Documenting the Justice Gap in America: the Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans,” September 2005. An Updated Report of the Legal Services Corporation, September 2009.
  • 4. http://www.arkansasjustice.org/sites/default/files/file%20attachments/2016-Annual-Report_final.pdf.
  • 5.  http://www.flaccesstojustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Florida-Commission-ATJ-Interim-Report.pdf.
  • 6.  http://www.bostonbar.org/docs/default-document-library/statewide-task-force-to-expand-civil-legal-aid-in-ma-investing-in-justice.pdf.
  • 7. http://www.michbar.org/file/programs/atj/pdfs/JusticeGap.pdf.
  • 8. https://www.nycourts.gov/accesstojusticecommission/PDF/2015_Access_to_Justice-Report-V5.pdf.
  • 9. http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_aid_indigent_defendants/ATJReports/ls_WA_clns_2015b.authcheckdam.pdf
  • 10. National Center for Access to Justice, Justice Index 2016, http://justiceindex.org/2016-findings/self-represented-litigants/.
  • 11. Hawaii data from Mark Recktenwald, Chief Justice, Hawaii Supreme Court, LSC Board of Directors Meeting, San Francisco, CA. Judicial Panel: The Importance of Access to Justice to the Judiciary, October 15, 2015; New York data from The Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York. Report to the Chief Judge of the State of New York, State of New York, Unified Court System, November 2014, p.20.; Philadelphia Landlord-Tenant data from Philadelphia Legal Assistance analysis of Philadelphia Municipal Court data, https://fjdclaims.phila.gov/phmuni/login.do; Philadelphia Credit Card Collection cases from Philadelphia Legal Assistance analysis of data from Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County http://fjdefile.phila.gov/efsfjd/zk_fjd_public_qry_00.zp_main_idx and the Philadelphia Department of Records, http://epay.phila-records.com/phillyepay/web/login.jsp.
  • 12. Services for Self-Represented Litigants in Arkansas. A Report to the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission. July 2013, p.10. www.arkansasjustice.org/sites/default/files/file%20attachments/Arkansas%20Final%20Report%207-26-13.pdf.
  • 13. The courts with the highest numbers of self-represented litigants were in the Southeast and Western part of the state, where the counties with the five lowest per capita income counties are located. http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/courts-and-judges/courts/housing-court/hc-2015-additional-departments-stats.pdf
  • 14. LSC Board of Directors has held judicial panel forums at its quarterly meetings from 2012 to present. Please see LSC’s website for video links to the panels.
  • 15. http://iaals.du.edu/sites/default/files/documents/publications/cases_without_counsel_research_report.pdf.
  • 16. http://iaals.du.edu/sites/default/files/documents/publications/10-2016_atj.pdf.
  • 17. “The Importance of Funding for the Legal Services Corporation from the Perspective of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators,” Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators, 2013.
  • 18. Information in this section and in Table I is based on a Philadelphia Legal Assistance analysis of Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County data (http://fjdefile.phila.gov/efsfjd/zk_fjd_public_qry_00.zp_main_idx) and the Philadelphia Department of Records data (http://epay.phila-records.com/phillyepay/web/login.jsp).
  • 19. Information in this section and in Table II are based on a Philadelphia Legal Assistance analysis of Philadelphia Municipal Court data accessed at https://fjdclaims.phila.gov/phmuni/login.do.
  • 20. Data for Utah District Courts, Calendar Year 2015, provided by Utah Administrative Office of the Courts.
  • 21. State studies include Alabama: The Alabama Access to Justice Commission. The Legal Needs of Low-Income Alabamians, A Needs Assessment & Analysis. The Alabama Access to Justice Commission. (2007). Connecticut: Center for Survey Research & Analysis at the University of Connecticut. Civil Legal Needs Among Low Income Households in Connecticut. Connecticut Bar Foundation. (2008). Georgia: A.L. Burress Institute of Public Service and Research – Kennesaw State University.). Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia. Committee on Civil Justice – Supreme Court of Georgia Equal Justice Commission. (Report Drawn from the 2007/2008 Georgia Legal Needs Study). (2009). Illinois: Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Foundation, Illinois Bar Foundation, Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, The Legal Aid Safety Net: A Report on the Legal Needs of Low-Income Illinoisans. (2005). Massachusetts: Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas, Inc. Massachusetts Legal Needs Survey Findings from A Survey of Legal Needs of Low-Income Households in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation. (2003). Nevada: Gene Kroupa & Associates, LLC. Nevada Civil Legal Needs Survey. Nevada Supreme Court, Access to Justice Commission. (2008). Tennessee: The University of Tennessee College of Social Work Office of Research and Public Service. Report from the Statewide Comprehensive Legal Needs Survey for 2003. The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. (2004). Virginia: Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, Virginia Legal Needs Survey. Findings from a Survey of Legal Needs of Low-Income Households in Virginia. (2007). Washington: Office of Civil Legal Aid. Washington Civil Legal Needs Study Update. Washington State Supreme Court. (2015). Wisconsin: Gene Kroupa & Associates. Bridging the Justice Gap: Wisconsin’s Unmet Legal Needs. Access to Justice Study Committee, State Bar of Wisconsin. (2007).
  • 22. The Justice Index methodology defines legal aid organizations as those that “employ FTE attorneys and provide direct legal services to clients with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.” See Justice Index 2016.
  • 23. Methodology, Research, Data Collection, and Indexing Methodology, “Attorney Access: Counting the Number of Lawyers for the Poor.” http://justiceindex.org/methodology/.
  • 24. The log transformation is a standard technique in statistical analysis to reduce the skew in data. This transformation is applied to improve the interpretability or appearance of graphs or to meet basic assumptions of statistical modeling techniques.
  • 25. The number of households was calculated based on the estimated legal services demand gap for FY18. The first row represents 1% of the 8,381,177 households in the FY18 demand gap. The second line represents 5%, etc.
  • 26. The cost to serve a single household was based on the average cost per civil case closure over a three-year period, 2014-2016.
  • 27. Additional funding needed is the simple product of the number of households multiplied by the average cost per case closure.
  • 28. Additional basic field funding needed plus the FY16 basic field appropriations of $352 million.
  • 29. The studies cited use a range of methodologies to calculate savings and benefits including shelter costs, domestic violence impacts, state services, and federal benefits. The variation in methodology makes comparing summary statistics, such as return on investment, difficult. LSC uses relevant portions of the studies that can be understood independently
  • 30. The Florida Bar Foundation, Economic Impacts of Civil Legal Aid Organizations in Florida. November 4, 2016.
  • 31. Maine’s Justice Action Group, Economic Impact of Civil Legal Aid Services in Maine. By Todd Gabe, Ph.D., November 2016.
  • 32. Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, Civil Legal Aid Yields Economic Benefits to Clients and to the Commonwealth: Examples of Benefits from FY15 Advocacy. 2016.
  • 33. Minnesota Legal Services Coalition, Economic Impact Measurements of Minnesota Legal Aid. 2016.
  • 34. Montana Legal Services Association, The Economic Impact of Civil Legal Aid to the State of Montana. 2015.
  • 35. Permanent Commission on Access to Justice, Report to the Chief Judge of the State of New York. November 2015.
  • 36. The Tennessee Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee and the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative, Economic Impact of Civil Legal Aid Organizations in Tennessee. March 2015.
  • 37. Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, Report to the Commonwealth and the General Assembly FY 2014-2015.
  • 38. U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1701: Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months.
  • 39. Calculated from U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1701, and unpublished data from the U.S. Census Bureau the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) provided to LSC by the Census Bureau.
  • 40. Calculated from U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1703: Selected Characteristics of People at Specified Levels of Poverty in the Past 12 Months.
  • 41. a. b. U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1703.
  • 42. Calculated from 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1701 and Table S2101.
  • 43. Ethan Bronner, “No Lawyer for Miles, So One Rural State Offers Pay”, New York Times, April 8, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/us/subsidy-seen-as-a-way-to-fill-a-need-for-rural-lawyers.html.
  • 44. http://chavis.bangordailynews.com/2017/02/22/home/the-justice-gap-in-rural-america/.
  • 45. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/us/subsidy-seen-as-a-way-to-fill-a-need-for-rural-lawyers.html.
  • 46. National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) defines domestic violence as “rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault committed by intimate partners, immediate family members, or other relatives.” Domestic violence includes both “family violence” and “intimate partner violence” (IPV). Family violence includes “all types of violent crime committed by an offender who is related to the victim either biologically or legally through marriage or adoption,” while IPV “includes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression (including coercive tactics) by a current or former intimate partner.” U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics BLS), Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances. 2005; DOJ, BLS, Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003–2012, April 2014; Breiding, M.J., Chen J., & Black, M.C., Intimate Partner Violence in the United States — 2010. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, 2014.
  • 47. Grantee Activity Reports. 2012-2016.
  • 48. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003–2012, by Jennifer L. Truman, Ph.D., and Rachel E. Morgan, Ph.D., April 2014, page 3.
  • 49. Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • 50. Ibid.
  • 51. Supporting Survivors, The Economic Benefits of Providing Civil Legal Assistance to Survivors of Domestic Violence, Institute for Policy Integrity, July 2015.
  • 52. Judy Hails Kaci, Aftermath of Seeking Domestic Violence Protective Orders: The Victim’s Perspective, 10 J. of Contemp. Crim. Just. 204 (1994). But see Andrew R. Klein, Re-Abuse in a Population of Court-Restrained Male Batterers: Why Restraining Orders Don’t Work, in Do Arrests and Restraining Orders Work? 192 (Eve S. Buzawa & Carl G. Buzawa, eds., 1996) (describing the results of a study Supporting Survivors: The Economic Benefits of Providing Civil Legal Assistance to Survivors of Domestic Violence | Endnotes 26 conducted in Quincy, Massachusetts where the mere issuance of a restraining order failed to prevent future abuse against victims in nearly 50 percent of cases, but noting that the results shed no light on whether the order lessened the severity of the continued abuse or the number of abusive episodes.)
  • 53. Jane Murphy, Engaging with the State: The Growing Reliance on Lawyers and Judges to Protect Battered Women, 11 Am. U. J. Gender Soc. Pol’y & L. 499, 511-12 (2003).
  • 54. National Center for Injury Prevention & Control, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Intimate Partner Violence in the United States—2010 (2014), available at http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/cdc_nisvs_ipv_ report_2013_v17_single_a.pdf [hereinafter National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS)]; see also National Center for Injury Prevention & Control, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report (2011), available at http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_ report2010-a.pdf.
  • 55. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States (Atlanta, GA: 2003).
  • 56. Calculated from 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S1701 and Table S2101.
  • 57. Legal Services Corporation Grant Activities Report data for cases with household members who are veterans multiplied by the average number of persons in households for closed cases.
  • 58. Table S2101 from the 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates and Table S1701 from the 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.
  • 59. U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S2101, Veteran Status; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development, The 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, November 2016, EXHIBIT 5.2: Percent of Homeless Veterans by Sheltered Status, 2016).
  • 60. The 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress Part 1, EXHIBIT 5.2: Percent of Homeless Veterans By Sheltered Status).
  • 61. National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, Background and Statistics, accessed March 22, 2017. http://nchv.org/index.php/news/media/background_and_statistics/.
  • 62. Legal Services Corporation Grant Activities Report data for closed housing cases multiplied by the average number of persons in households for closed cases.
  • 63. Boston Bar Association Task Force on the Civil Right to Counsel, The Importance of Representation in Eviction Cases and Homelessness Prevention, Boston Bar Association, March 2012, p.15.
  • 64. How to Solve the Housing Crisis: More Lawyers, Patrick Clark | April 8, 2016. Bloomberg. https://www.bgov.com/core/news/#!/articles/O5BAK36KLVVS.
  • 65. According to a Connecticut Law Review paper. www.connecticutlawreview.org/files/2015/01/9-Steinberg.pdf.
  • 66. See note 64.
  • 67. a. b. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2015 1-year estimates, Table S1703: Selected Characteristics of People at Specified Levels of Poverty in The Past 12 Months.
  • 68. Legal Services Corporation Grant Activities Report data for the average number of persons in households for closed cases multiplied by the sum of the following closed cases: all cases involving Special Ed./Learning Disabilities, SSDI, Mental Health, and Disability Rights, plus 50% of School Discipline (incl. Expulsion & Suspension) cases, 40% of Employment Discrimination cases, 40% of Housing Discrimination cases, 85% of SSI cases, 20% of Neglected/Abused/Depend cases, 10% of Medicaid cases, and 15% of Medicare cases.
  • 69. U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, Alternative Poverty Estimates Based on National Academy of Sciences Recommendations, by Selected Demographic Characteristics and by Region (CE): 2015.
  • 70. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. (2016). Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2015. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Figure 34. Presence of any retirement savings (by age and employment status).
  • 71. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2015 1-year estimates, Table S0103: Population 65 Years and Over in The United States.
  • 72. Matthew W. Brault, Americans with Disabilities: 2010. Household Economic Studies. Current Population Reports. P70-131, U.S. Department of Commerce. Economics and Statistics Administration. U.S. Census Bureau, Table 1.
  • 73. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, “CFPB Helps Assisted Living and Nursing Facilities Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse,” JUN 19, 2014. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-helps-assisted-living-and-nursing-facilities-protect-seniors-from-financial-abuse/, accessed 3/3/17.
  • 74. National Consumer Law Center, Helping Elderly Homeowners Victimized by Predatory Mortgage Loans, Consumer Concerns, Information for Advocates Representing Older Adults, November 2008.
  • 75. National Center on Elder Abuse, Abuse of Adults with a Disability, Research Brief, undated; Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2012). The Risk and Prevention of Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau; Nancy Smith, Sandra Harrell, Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities: A National Snapshot, Vera Institute of Justice, Center On Victimization and Safety, Issue Brief, March 2013; Disability Justice, Abuse and Exploitation of People with Developmental Disabilities, http://disabilityjustice.org/justice-denied/abuse-and-exploitation/.
  • 76. Erika Harrell, Crime Against Persons with Disabilities, 2009-2014 - Statistical Tables, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2016, NCJ 250200, p.3.
  • 77. Nancy Smith, Sandra Harrell, Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities: A National Snapshot, Vera Institute of Justice, Center On Victimization and Safety, Issue Brief, March 2013, p.3.
  • 78. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Annual Report on the State of Fair Housing in America, November 2014.
  • 79. National Fair Housing Alliance, Where You Live Matters: 2015 Fair Housing Trends Report. 2015.
  • 80. Diane K. Levy, Margery A. Turner, Rob Santos, Doug Wissoker, Claudia L. Aranda, Rob Pitingolo, Helen Ho, Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market Against People Who Are Deaf and People Who Use Wheelchairs: National Study Findings, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, June 25, 2015.
  • 81. How a Decade of Debt Changed the Law Student Experience, The Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSE), 2015 Annual Survey Results.