Letters to the Editor

Voices' Martha Bergmark reacts to ALM's feature about big law and their legal aid funding role.
Letter to Editor (NATIONAL)

Martha Bergmark
August 1, 2015

Tags: Access to Justice, Funding: State & Local

Organizations mentioned/involved: Voices for Civil Justice


In your editorial that accompanied the justice GAP article, you boldly challenged Big Law to boost its support for civil legal aid, calling on the nation’s largest law firms to increase contributions from current levels—now amounting to less than one-tenth of one percent of revenue—to a quarter of a percent.

That would be a great start to strengthening the legal profession’s efforts to ensure access to justice and to help the millions of Americans who can’t afford legal help in court proceedings with potentially life-changing consequences like unlawful evictions and protection from domestic violence. This increase in giving would boost total spending on civil legal aid (now about $1.4 billion from all sources) by about $250 million.

But if we’re serious about fulfilling our nation’s promise of justice for all, we must go further and double our investment in civil legal aid. As ALM’s July cover story amply documents, Big Law can afford it, and our country desperately needs it. With collective annual revenue of $100 billion, the Am Law 200 firms could generate $1 billion in support for civil legal aid by contributing just 1 percent of revenue. ALM has launched a long-overdue conversation and made a bold call to action. Now is the time for the leading law firms to heed the call, so that we can meet our shared responsibility as a legal profession.