Legal Services Corporation Awards $4.75 Million to Expand Pro Bono Services for Low-Income Americans

Legal Services Corporation logoThe Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has announced that it is awarding Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4.75 million to 15 legal aid organizations. The grants will support the growth of pro bono legal services for low-income Americans. 

Last year, 74% of low-income households faced at least one civil legal problem, according to LSC’s recently released Justice Gap report. Alarmingly, low-income Americans received no or insufficient legal help for 92% of their substantial civil legal problems. Expanding pro bono and other volunteer services will allow civil legal aid providers to better address these urgent, unmet needs.

“Meeting the vast legal needs of low-income Americans is a tough job for legal aid providers with limited resources,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “Engaging pro bono attorneys and volunteers adds a powerful network that multiplies the impact of these organizations.” 

Members of Congress congratulated legal services providers in their states on receiving pro bono grants. 

“How much money you make shouldn’t determine whether you have fair representation in court,” said Senator Sherrod Brown. “These funds for the Legal aid Society of Cleveland and Community Aid Legal Services will help ensure all Ohioans have the representation they need to protect their rights against debt collectors, banks, and landlords trying to evict them.” 

“Legal Action Wisconsin has helped fulfill the American ideal ‘justice for all’ and ensure our justice system works for all Wisconsinites,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin. “This grant from the Legal Services Corporation will help Legal Action Wisconsin establish a Lawyer-For-A-Day (LFAD) program and expand their innovative work defending consumers’ rights against debt collectors. The Badger State is fortunate to have Legal Action Wisconsin and their network of volunteers helping ensure our legal system is fair for those living in marginalized and underserved communities, and I am excited to see their continued impact with this investment from the Legal Services Corporation.”

“Justice should never be pay-to-play, but all too often access to legal assistance can be out of reach for my constituents,” said Rep. Troy Carter (LA-2). “I’m grateful that the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) is receiving funds from LSC to increase their capacity to help achieve justice for vulnerable tenants through their Pro Bono Security Deposit Theft Project. These funds will directly help struggling tenants impacted by the pandemic and recent storms receive the security deposits they are rightfully owed.”

Each organization’s project involves innovative solutions to persistent challenges in pro bono delivery systems. Their methods include establishing community partnerships, utilizing technology in new ways, incentivizing private attorneys to volunteer or increasing efficiency through standardizing processes. These initiatives can be replicated by other legal services providers across the country.

Both Land of Lincoln Legal Aid and Nevada Legal Services aim to establish access points in local schools for families with civil legal issues impacting their health, safety and economic security. Legal Aid Chicago, the Michigan Advocacy Program and California Rural Legal Assistance are leveraging volunteers to help people navigate the complex process of records expungement. 

Some of the pro bono programs focus on specific issue areas like housing, veterans’ benefits or debt collection, while others will engage pro bono attorneys on a wide range of cases. 

LSC awarded these grants from its Pro Bono Innovation Fund, which was included in its FY 2022 congressional appropriation. This is the ninth year that Congress has designated funds for LSC’s pro bono grants. Since 2014, LSC has awarded 121 grants totaling more than $35 million.

  • Pro Bono