How Legal Aid Works

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. LSC promotes equal access to justice by providing funding to 134 independent non-profit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. LSC grantees serve thousands of low-income individuals, children, families, seniors, and veterans in 813 offices in every congressional district. Read more about the vital role legal aid plays in a just America.

Fulfills Critical Need at Low Cost

Investing in civil legal aid provides access to justice—a fundamental American value, reflected in the first line of our Constitution and in the closing words of our Pledge of Allegiance. The need for civil legal assistance has never been greater. Today, low-income Americans continue to struggle to keep their jobs, stay in their homes, and provide basic necessities for their families. Without adequate funding for legal aid, low-income Americans will be unable to access courts effectively to protect their legitimate legal interests.

Assures Fairness in the Justice System

Civil legal aid provides access to legal help for people to protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families. Civil legal aid makes it easier to access information through easy-to-understand forms, legal assistance, representation, and self-help centers to enable people to know their rights – regardless of their income.

Provides Critical Constituent Services

LSC grantees help constituents who live in households with annual incomes at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. LSC-funded legal aid ensures that eligible constituents will not have to navigate the legal system alone. Eligible clients include the working poor, veterans and military families, homeowners and renters, families with children, farmers, the disabled, and the elderly.

Access to justice is not an abstract right…Congress can help Americans live safer, more productive lives by giving them access to legal aid.
“Justice for only those who can afford it is neither justice for all nor justice at all.”
“When the great majority of the individuals and small businesses of the nation no longer can, or believe they no longer can, get a lawyer, be represented effectively, go to court, settle their disputes in a fair and impartial way, and be treated like every other citizen, we quite simply, have lost the guiding principle of our republic—equal justice under law. When that goes, the rule of law goes, and when that goes, the great dreams of those patriots who founded and fought for this republic go with it—never to be reclaimed. Something must be done!
“798 years ago … the Magna Carta established that no man, even a king – or in our constitutional system, a President – is or should be above the law. In a sense, the enterprise that all of you are engaged in is achieving the equal but converse principle – that just as no person should be above the law, no person should be below it.”


Rep. Tonko, Sandman and LASNNY

Press Event: Tonko, Sandman and LASNNY Announce #LSCPBIF Grant

New York Congressman Paul Tonko, LSC President Jim Sandman with Lillian Moy, and Tom O'Connor at press event on Oct. 2 in Albany, NY announcing ...Read more

LSC Honors California Attorneys, Law Firms, and Collaborative Projects for Pro Bono Service

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation Board of Directors will present its Pro Bono Service Award on Oct. 5 to five California attorneys,...Read more

Tonko, LSC President Join Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York to Announce Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant

WASHINGTON –New York Congressman Paul Tonko and Legal Services Corporation President Jim Sandman will join leaders of the Legal Aid Society of...Read more

California's Chief Justice, Insurance Commissioner Join Leading Jurists and Business Leaders from Across the Country at LSC Event

WASHINGTON – California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, California Insurance Commissioner...Read more

Presidential Memorandum on White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (LAIR)

On September 24th, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum formally...Read more

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