Talk Justice, an LSC Podcast: What to Expect from the Relaunch of the DOJ’s Access-to-Justice Function and the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable

WASHINGTON – The latest episode of Legal Services Corporation’s (LSC) “Talk Justice” podcast looks at what to expect from President Biden’s initiative to "reinvigorate the federal government’s role in advancing access to justice," including re-establishing the Department of Justice’ Office for Access to Justice and reinvigorating the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable. Host Jason Tashea sits down with Representative Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), co-chair of the Congressional Access to Civil Legal Aid Caucus; Karen Lash, former official at the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice; and Elizabeth Werner, managing attorney, Legal Aid of West Virginia.

President Biden signed a memorandum on May 18, instructing the Department of Justice to develop a plan for expanding access to the civil court system and public defenders within 120 days.

Karen Lash kicks off the podcast episode by breaking down what the memorandum means for the legal aid and justice communities. “It's intended to improve coordination among federal programs to make them more effective by including legal services, alongside other supportive services, that can improve results in government programs,” she explains.

Rep. Scanlon stresses the importance of legal help in ensuring people have access to the services that they are entitled to receive. “I spent 35 years before coming to Congress, at the intersection of the pro bono world and on a number of boards of legal services agencies,” Rep. Scanlon says. “And you see there the difference that having access to an attorney can make.”

Talk Justice episodes are available on LSC’s website and on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and other popular podcast apps. The podcast is sponsored by LSC’s Leaders Council.

Future episodes of Talk Justice will explore how the pandemic is impacting the opioid crisis and people in recovery and how state attorneys general can work with legal aid providers to better serve low-income Americans.

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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