Public Interest Law Initiative

PILI Stands with the Legal Services Corporation

Posted on: May 23, 2017

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The Legal Services Corporation distributes federal funding to legal aid organizations throughout the country that provide free civil legal services to 1.9 million individuals and families every year. While funding for LSC accounts for only 1/10,000th of the total federal budget, it constitutes a significant portion of the budget for these LSC-funded programs.

Current federal budget proposals call for an elimination of funding for the Legal Services Corporation. The work LSC-funded organizations do is critical to those they serve, and cutting funding would significantly jeopardize their ability to carry out their mission.

In Illinois, LSC grantees include several of PILI’s partner agencies, including LAF, Prairie State Legal Services and Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation. “Eliminating funding for LSC would have a significantly detrimental impact on low-income individuals, families and communities across the country and would further strain the already stretched legal aid community,” said Michael Bergmann, PILI’s Executive Director. “Too many people in our country are already limited in their ability to access our justice system. Our full-throated support of LSC is critical to ensuring equality and accessibility in our justice system for all.”

In a statement released on May 23, 2017, American Bar Association President Linda Klein said, “Steep budget cuts proposed today by the White House would severely undermine the fairness of the legal system and deny access to justice for some of society’s most vulnerable individuals. These include children, veterans, the elderly, people with disabilities, people in poverty, families suffering after natural disasters, survivors of domestic violence and victims of other crimes. America must not compromise on the principles that justice is accessible to all and all are equal under the law.”

Join PILI in standing with LSC. The below resources provided by the American Bar Association can assist you in making sure your voice is heard:

  • Legal Aid Defender is the ABA’s initiative to fight for LSC, and provides talking points and statistics to help you talk about and advocate for LSC funding.
  • www.DefendLegalAid.org is an online tool makes it easy to tell Congress that you will fight for LSC.
  • www.HelpLegalAid.org provides other tools and resources to help support civil legal aid programs.

If you have any questions about LSC and PILI’s relationship with and support of LSC-funded organizations, please reach out to Michael Bergmann by email or by phone at 312-832-5129.

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