Big Firms Slow to Answer Legal Services Funding Plea

So far, only 19 law firms have agreed to contribute.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Susan Beck
June 13, 2016

Tags: Funding: Private/Foundation, Law Firms

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


The Legal Services Corporation launched the ongoing campaign in September 2014 to lessen its reliance on Congress for its budget. LSC is primarily funded by the federal government, receiving $385 million this fiscal year; adjusted for inflation, that’s less than half of what Congress gave it in the 1970s. Private foundations have also made generous contributions over the years, but the organization has never before asked law firms for money in a concerted campaign.

In this fundraising effort, foundations donated $2,318,500. The largest contribution of any kind came from the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, which gave $1.2 million.

This first round of law firm donations are primarily funding a summer rural legal fellows program, in which 32 lawyers in 28 states will be helping the rural poor. (Equal Justice Works is training the fellows and administering the program.) LSC is committed to funding the rural fellows program for at least five years, said Levi, who added that he’d like to raise enough money to put 50 lawyers in the field.