Statement on the Release of President Biden’s FY2022 Budget

You are here

Release Date: 
Friday, May 28, 2021

NLADA Statement on the Release of President Biden’s FY2022 Budget

Today President Joe Biden released his FY2021 budget, and it includes a number of proposals that would, if passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, meaningfully improve access to justice in the United States.

NLADA welcomes the President’s requests for $600 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), an increase of $135 million. This would be the largest increase in recent years to enable grantee organizations to aid many thousands more Americans. However, it would only begin to address the historical underfunding of civil legal aid, the consequences of which have been made plain by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, President Biden’s budget seeks $25 million in new funding for state and local public defense, $15 million for representation in asylum cases and a 70 percent increase in grants for legal assistance for victims through the Violence Against Women Act.

Other requests in the budget include$6 million for the Office for Access to Justice (ATJ) at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). ATJ had spearheaded work within DOJ and across the Executive Branch to promote access to justice until it was shuttered under the prior administration. Last week the White House announced that DOJ should explore how to improve access to justice, and then DOJ announced it was starting a process to consider a procedure to revive ATJ.

NLADA is pleased that President Biden and his administration recognize the critical need to invest in civil legal aid and public defense. We urge Congress to build on these recommendations during their appropriations process.


The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), founded in 1911, is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels through the creation of our public defender systems and other important institutions from The Sentencing Project to the Legal Services Corporation. A leader in the development of national standards for civil legal aid and public defense, NLADA also provides advocacy, training and technical assistance for equal justice advocates across the country.