Op-ed about the disconnect between the number of unemployed law graduates and the unmet need for civil legal services.
National Law Journal
June 1, 2015
Tags: Benefits of Legal Aid: Economic, Funding: Federal, Legal Needs, Pro Se/Self-Help
Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC)
The desperate need for legal services in low-income and marginalized communities (the same communities that are now being torn asunder by racial and economic inequality and civil strife) offers law graduates the opportunity to pursue a proud calling, while meeting a tremendous unmet need.
But this simple solution — connecting recent law graduates with the need for their services — requires one thing: money.
The budget for the Legal Services Corp., the entity that distributes federal funds to providers of free legal services for the poor, makes up less than 100th of 1 percent of the federal budget. It has been slashed by more than 30 percent in just the past five years.
Financial support for legal services for the indigent doesn’t just meet a desperate need; it also makes financial sense. One study in Massachusetts showed that every dollar spent on providing free legal assistance for families facing eviction in housing court that would keep them in their home could save the public $2.69 in expenditures for things like emergency shelter.