Do not cut civil legal aid

Civil legal aid fosters self-reliance and ultimately saves money.

Op-Ed (Montana)

Paul F. Kirgis
Missoulian (MT)
March 22, 2017

Tags: Funding: Federal

Organizations mentioned/involved: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)


Because of the work MLSA and similar organizations do, fewer elderly people are taken advantage of, fewer veterans lose their homes, fewer children are stuck in foster care, and fewer victims of domestic violence are trapped in destructive relationships. The beneficiaries of those services are then better able to be productive members of society, ultimately reducing the cost of social services.

To be sure, federally funded legal services are just one way to provide civil legal aid to underserved populations. Private attorneys can and should continue to give of their time, and other organizations provide assistance for those in need. The University of Montana’s Blewett School of Law is one such organization, delivering free legal services through its clinics and pro bono programs and maintaining one of the two law libraries in our state open to the public. But federal support remains essential.