Corporate Leaders Show Support for the Legal Services Corporation

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In 2017, nearly 200 of the top legal leadership from a cross-section of American industry, including many of our nation’s most recognizable corporations, have delivered a letter to members of Congress urging them to provide sufficient resources for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). LSC is the foundational infrastructure of civil legal aid in America, providing funding and other vital support to programs that serve almost two million people each year covering every county in every state. The recently released “America First” budget blueprint from the Office of Management and Budget recommended the elimination of LSC.

“Legal Services Corporation is vital to upholding the fundamental American promise of equal justice under the law,” said John F. Schultz, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Hewlett Packard Enterprise.  “LSC programs provide support to working families, allowing them to create significant positive impacts on our businesses and communities. LSC also provides the structure for corporations and in-house legal departments, like ours here at HPE, to provide pro bono legal services and make a real difference in the lives of people around us.”

Civil legal aid ensures fairness for all in the justice system regardless of how much money a person has by providing assistance in legal matters that have the potential to devastate lives. Civil legal aid programs keep families in their homes, assist veterans returning to our communities, secure safety for survivors of domestic violence, and provide a wide array of other critical services. Securing fair outcomes for legal aid clients strengthens American business by providing workers with the stability they need to be productive, and boosts local economies by helping families who are struggling get back on their feet.

At least 12.5 percent of all LSC grants are devoted to creating an infrastructure to enable and support pro bono efforts by private attorneys.  This minimal investment in LSC – just 0.00001 percent of the federal budget – enables programs to leverage private resources to significantly expand the impact of federal dollars. Corporate and private lawyers contribute millions of hours of pro bono assistance to legal aid programs each year, but they would be unable to do so if these programs are forced to close down. Congress can protect this exemplar public-private partnership and secure equal access to justice for all by fully funding LSC.