VBA, 6 Other Bar Groups Issue Statement on Legal Aid Funding
Friday, April 14, 2017
The VBA joined with six other statewide bar organizations in issuing a statement that opposes a proposal to cut federal funding for legal aid services.
The other bars are the Hispanic Bar Association, the Old Dominion Bar Association, the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and the Virginia State Bar.
The statement reads:
"The undersigned Virginia's statewide bar associations stand united in strong opposition to the budget proposal presented by President Trump's administrating calling for elimination of funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and as a result, Virginia's civil legal aid programs. LSC provides civil legal aid to millions of Americans and more than one million Virginians qualify for its services.
"Legal aid lawyers and the thousands of private volunteer lawyers in support of legal aid work, provide vital services, often on a moment's notice, to the most vulnerable and underserved in our communities in civil matters before the court. Examples of their work include services for victims and survivors of domestic violence; veterans, who often find themselves struggling with economic and mental health issues after returning home from combat; people displaced by disasters; the elderly; and people with disabilities who are too often financially exploited and abused.
"LSC has had bipartisan support in Congress since it was created in 1974 reflecting America's commitment to the democratic principles of equal access to justice and fairness. The Commonwealth of Virginia has also supported legal aid with state funding since 1982.
"The undersigned call on every member of the Virginia congressional delegation to act on behalf of those who need meaningful access to justice by rejecting any proposal to eliminate or significantly reduce legal aid funding."
The resolution is being sent to elected officials and to the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, as well as news media outlets and the American Bar Association. The ABA has posted a page containing statements from across the nation on legal aid funding concerns, including the one from Virginia's statewide bar organizations.