Department of Justice Officials, Senators and State Attorneys General Join LSC for Forum on Access to Justice

WASHINGTON ­— Five state attorneys general, Department of Justice officials and other leaders from the legal community will join the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) on Tuesday, July 20, at 1 p.m. ET for a forum on the access-to-justice challenges confronting low-income Americans. 

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, American Bar Association President Patricia Lee Refo will provide opening remarks. They will share their thoughts on what can be done to close the “justice gap”— the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs. Texas Senator John Cornyn, Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and LSC Board Chair John G. Levi will provide recorded remarks.

LSC President Ron Flagg will moderate a conversation with five of the bipartisan state attorneys general who signed a letter to Congress in support of LSC’s annual appropriation on different access-to-justice initiatives in their states. The attorneys general participating are Joshua Kaul of Wisconsin, Doug Peterson of Nebraska, Karl Racine of the District of Columbia, Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon and Herbert Slatery III of Tennessee.

Following that panel, notable law school deans, corporate general counsel and law firm partners will offer their perspectives on how to ensure fairness in the civil justice system. Participants include Dean Kerry Abrams, Duke University Law School; Ivan Fong, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Policy Officer and Secretary of 3M Company; Harriet Miers, Partner of Locke Lord and former White House Counsel; and Dean William Treanor, Georgetown University Law Center. LSC Vice President for Legal Affairs & General Counsel Will A. Gunn will moderate the discussion. Law deans and law firms from across the United States, as well as more than 200 corporate general counsels, also sent letters to Congress in support of LSC’s funding.

The country’s justice gap predates the pandemic. A 2017 LSC report showed that 86% of the civil legal problems of low-income Americans received no or inadequate help because of a lack of resources. However, the need for legal aid has spiked as COVID-19 continues to disrupt the lives and financial security of people across the country. Housing is a particular concern. LSC estimated back in August that more than 5.13 million households who qualify for LSC-funded services are at risk of eviction. Civil legal needs have also surged in others key areas served by LSC grantees, including unemployment, domestic violence and health care.

LSC’s forum on access to justice will be livestreamed via Facebook Live. To view the event, visit LSC’s Facebook page. Follow #LSCforum for updates on Twitter.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

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