In President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 congressional budget, the Legal Services Corporation’s funding was marked for elimination. It is important for those going on co-op to know what the Legal Services Corporation is, and if their co-op is affected by the proposed cut.
What is the LSC?
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is a nonprofit organization. The organization provides legal assistance to low-income Americans by providing grants to other nonprofit organizations that deliver civil legal aid. Nearly 812 offices nationwide receive funding from the LSC, and most of these organizations focus on family law.
What Massachusetts agencies and law firms are affected?
In Massachusetts, the grantees receiving money from LSC this year are the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association, South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Northeast Legal Aid, Inc., and Community Legal Aid, Inc. This resulted in a funding total of $5,147,586 from the LSC to the state of Massachusetts. LSC keeps an entire listing of grantees by state here. LSC requested an appropriation of $502,700,000 for funding organizations for the fiscal year of 2017.
On March 9, 2017, 150 major law firms penned a letter voicing their concerns about the proposed plan to eliminate the funding for the LSC to the Office of Management and Budget. Massachusetts-based law firms in this letter are Brown Rudnick, Foley Hoag, Nixon Peabody, Nutter McClennan & Fish, Ropes & Gray, and WilmerHale. On March 28, 2017, general counsel from 185 companies penned a letter to Congress in support of the LSC (available here). A letter from 166 law schools, including NUSL, to Congress in support of the LSC was sent as well (available here).
If you are interested in the American Bar Association’s social media campaign to urge Congress to not eliminate the LSC, you can follow #LegalAidDefender.