Jim Sandman to Leave as President of the Legal Services Corporation

You are here

Release Date: 
Friday, January 31, 2020

Jim Sandman announced his intention on January 21st to step down from his post as president of the Legal Services Corporation on February 19th. Jim will leave LSC having served as president longer than anyone in the 43-year history of the organization. He included a desire to pursue other public endeavors, teaching, and helping improve the D.C. public schools among the reasons leading him to his decision to leave LSC.

Jim leaves behind a legacy of significant accomplishment. He arrived at LSC at a time when serious efforts were underway in the Congress to either eliminate or seriously undermine LSC funding. During his tenure as president, despite the efforts of the Trump Administration to eliminate LSC completely, funding increased to a record level of $440 million for FY 2020. Bipartisan support for LSC also grew in both the House and Senate, while many of the rancorous ideological battles of the past were effectively tempered. 

LSC became a respected leader in developing new means of delivering legal services under Jim's leadership. He served on the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services, chairing the subcommittee that explored methods to improve the delivery of legal services to limited-means clients. Two groundbreaking technology summits sponsored by LSC during Jim's tenure led to the development of strategies to ensure that everyone who seeks legal help should have affordable access to services that are effective and appropriate to meet their needs. This "100% access" idea served as a catalyst for the Conference of Chief Justices resolution on improving the civil justice system and the subsequent development of the Justice for All grant program sponsored by the Public Welfare and Kresge Foundations to help states innovate and make improvements toward the goals of equal justice. 

Jim, along with board chair John Levy and other board members, made remarkable progress in bringing unusual suspects into the network of legal aid supporters. Renowned members of the business community, the judiciary, the sports world, the bar, the medical profession, and the client community - from all political perspectives - joined voices to show how critical the work of LSC grantees is to both our national wellbeing and to meeting the promise of equal justice included in our country's founding documents.  

"Jim brought great professionalism and credibility to the institution during his 9-year tenure at LSC," noted NLADA VP Don Saunders. "He has been a tireless and powerful voice for equal justice in the United States, an advocate who was always ready to share his message wherever and whenever anyone would listen.  And he honed that voice over time to the point where he moved every audience he addressed with the urgency of his message. But the best thing about Jim, to me, is the great respect and admiration he shows for the people who perform the difficult work of his grantees every day in the field. He never refuses an opportunity to speak to them, calling them "his heroes". Jim's ability to inspire and value the work of everyone engaged in the legal aid community is what I will most fondly remember about Jim's tenure as president."

The LSC board announced that Ron Flagg, Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary will serve as interim president until the board completes its search for a permanent replacement. Jim will become President Emeritus of the Legal Services Corporation and continue to be a strong voice for equal justice. NLADA and the entire access to justice community wishes him all the best and looks forward to working with him in his new role.


More News From NLADA