The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee held its third and final Public Hearing on Civil Legal Representation of the Indigent: Have We Achieved Equal Access to Justice? on October 29, 2013 in Pittsburgh. Prior hearings were held on May 7 in Harrisburg and on May 23 in Philadelphia. All of the hearings were chaired by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart J. Greenleaf (R-Montgomery, Bucks).
The hearing concluded with the tri-chairs of the Civil Legal Justice Coalition presenting a list of recommendations to the committee, including quantifying the need for civil legal services funding in Pennsylvania and establishing an "access to justice commission," which 30 other states currently have, to address the expansion of access to civil justice at all levels for low-income and disadvantaged people in the state.
Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ronald D. Castille said today that rules adopted by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 2012 are again paying big dividends in helping provide legal services for low income Pennsylvanians.
A civil procedure rule that took effect July 1, 2012, directed how money left over from lawsuits after the plaintiffs, attorney fees and expenses have been paid is to be distributed. That rule resulted in a $4.1 million distirbution to legal services that was announced on September 6, 2013.
In a show of bipartisan support for federally funded civil legal services, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $430 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in FY 2014. This amount represents a $90 million increase over LSC’s current funding level, and is consistent with the White House budget request for FY 2014.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, along with other judges, low-income Pennsylvanians and the lawyers who help them, and community and business leaders testified at a Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee Public Hearing, Civil Legal Representation of the Indigent: Have We Achieved Equal Access to Justice? that was held on Thursday, May 23 in Philadelphia. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart J. Greenleaf (R-Montgomery, Bucks) chaired the hearing.
The purpose of the public hearing was to explore and create awareness of the current state and scope of the unmet need for civil legal services by low-income Pennsylvanians confronting legal problems involving basic human needs.
May 23, 2013 By Holly Otterbein, @hollyotterbein Clients, attorneys and judges said Thursday that most low-income people don't get the legal help they desperately need in civil cases, where they can find themselves fighting to win custody of their children or keep their homes. State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf…
The Legal Service Corporation has submitted to Congress a request for $486 million for Fiscal Year 2014 to meet the overwhelming need for legal services and to fulfill the nation’s promise of “justice for all.”
This is an increase of $16 million over LSC’s FY 2013 appropriation request. The increase is based on LSC’s assessment of the need for legal aid, the decline in some non-LSC funding sources, and LSC’s calculation of the resources necessary to provide the same level of service that LSC grantees provided in 2007, the year before the recession began. The request includes $5 million for a new grant program to encourage innovations in pro bono legal services.
Lynn A. Jennings has joined the staff of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) as vice president for grants management. Jennings will oversee LSC’s day-to-day programmatic operations, competitive grant process, and assessment and oversight of grantees.
Prior to joining LSC, Jennings was the principal at Jennings Solutions, LLC, a management consulting firm. Her more than 20 years of experience includes serving as executive vice president and vice president for strategic initiatives at The Council for Excellence in Government, as director of strategic initiatives at the CNA Corporation’s Institute for Public Research, as general counsel for the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, and as acting assistant secretary for policy and senior advisor to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor.
News from the Legal Services Corporation that local legal aid providers are expected to lose hundreds of lawyers due to lack of funding could not come at a worse time. Pro bono and legal aid attorneys are desperately needed for struggling American families facing foreclosure or trying to recover from drought disasters in our heartland. Critical but woefully inadequate federal appropriations for the Legal Services Corporation and diminishing returns on Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts combined with surging demand for free civil legal advice put an untenable strain on aid providers.
The American Bar Association is dedicated to expanding funding for the Legal Services Corporation and preserving access to justice for the most vulnerable members of our community — including disabled veterans, the elderly and victims of human trafficking. The doors of our nation’s courtrooms are held open by lawyers who selflessly work at legal aid centers and those who volunteer their expertise to the poor in their communities; we owe them our gratitude and support.