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Letter from 50 Bar Presidents Seeks Increased LSC Funds, Cites ‘Justice Gap’

Posted May 13, 2008 6:43 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Bar presidents from all 50 states are asking Congress to increase funding for the Legal Services Corp. to at least $400 million in fiscal 2009.

A letter (PDF) from the bar presidents asks the relevant House and Senate subcommittees “to take an important step forward in closing the current justice gap” by increasing funding. The letter was also signed by the National Conference of Bar Presidents and the National Association of Bar Executives, according to a press release.

LSC funding was initially set at $377 million for fiscal 2008, but it was reduced to $350.5 million under a year-end consolidated appropriations act, the letter says. It cites a 2005 study that found one out of two people who qualify for and seek help from LSC-funded programs is turned away because of a lack of resources.

Meanwhile, a new survey of 50 lawyers from the Utah Bar Association found a growing concern about access to justice, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The survey found 31 percent of the lawyers agreed that the top problem facing the justice system is "only the rich are getting results; ... the poor and middle class can't afford legal services."

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