The White House Turns Its Attention To Legal Aid With LAIR

The President recently created the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (LAIR). Here's why you should care.
Blog Post (NATIONAL)

Sam Wright
Above the Law
October 6, 2015

Tags: Access to Justice

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (LAIR)


Well, did you notice above that I said the new Presidential Memorandum *formally* establishes LAIR? That’s because it turns out that LAIR has actually *informally* existed since 2012. And, according to the Department of Justice, in its three years of existence it has not been idle. Justice touts an array of improvements, research, and information-sharing, which collectively were deemed valuable enough by the legal aid community that LAIR’s co-chairs received the 2014 Government Service Award from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association. And on his Access to Justice blog, attorney-commentator Richard Zorza has written that a core LAIR product — the “LAIR Toolkit” — is a “major breakthrough.”

So it sounds like additional White House attention to the plight of legal aid attorneys and their clients may indeed be a good and useful thing. And in any event, this new, formally established version of LAIR bears watching. Perhaps it will achieve another major breakthrough (actually, more like a miracle) and identify a stable and adequate source of funding for all civil legal aid and indigent criminal defense throughout the country. One can dream.