PBA President Issues Statement Opposing Elimination of Legal Services Funding

HARRISBURG (March 16, 2017) – Pennsylvania Bar Association President Sara A. Austin today issued the following statement about President Donald Trump’s proposed budget that would eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC):

“The Pennsylvania Bar Association is joining with bar leaders from across the country in speaking out against President Trump’s proposal to cut all funding to LSC.

LSC, the single largest funder of civil legal aid in the country, provided nearly $12 million to Pennsylvania’s civil legal services organizations in 2016.

Cutting funding for this vital program essentially denies equal access to justice and risks the well-being of many vulnerable residents in every corner of our state.

Low-income Pennsylvanians have access to legal services thanks to grants made possible in part through the federal appropriation to LSC. Among those who receive legal help are low-income people who are victims of disasters, who are wrongfully evicted from homes, who are trying to escape domestic violence, and who are trying to gain education for special needs children.”

Legal service organizations in Pennsylvania that receive funding through LSC include Laurel Legal Services Inc., Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, MidPenn Legal Services, Neighborhood Legal Services Association, North Penn Legal Services, Northwestern Legal Services, Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center and Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services Inc. These organizations handled more than 82,000 cases in 2015.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association exists to promote justice, professional excellence and respect of the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 27,000 lawyers who are members of the association.