Pro Bono News

State Bar Presidents Unite to Call for Increased Legal Services Funding

Thursday, May 15, 2008

  • American Bar Association

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 12, 2008 --The presidents of all 50 state bar associations, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories are asking Congress to respond to tightening economic times and close "the current justice gap in America" by appropriating at least $400 million to the Legal Services Corporation.

In a recent letter to the chairs of the House and Senate subcommittees tasked with setting Legal Services Corporation funding, bar presidents urged Congress to put the funding increase in the 2009 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies bill in order to restore some of LSC's deeply eroded budget, noting as an example that -- if the budget was funded at 1995 levels adjusted for inflation -- it would be some $176 million higher than the $400 million request.

The letter was also signed onto by the National Conference of Bar Presidents and the National Association of Bar Executives.

Some 50 million Americans qualify for federally supported legal assistance, but current funding levels force local legal services providers to turn away half of all who apply and qualify for the help because of the shortfalls. At the same time, local legal services providers are facing waves of new clients caught up in legal problems linked to the housing crisis.

More information on the vast need for improved Legal Services Corporation funding can be found at:

The letter to the House is available at:

The letter to the Senate is available at: