Legal Aid Attorneys Chart Course for 2021 After Spike In Demand
The coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn it caused sparked a massive spike in demand for legal aid services from America's most marginalized communities, leaving a field already under-resourced facing even greater strain in 2020. At the same time, many organizations had to close their offices in the spring and significantly reduce in-person communication with clients to comply with health guidelines.
The picture is similar across the country for legal service providers that generally offer assistance in civil cases to clients who are at least 125% below the poverty line, according to the American Bar Association. Funds for these groups come from philanthropic, federal and state efforts, including from the Legal Services Corp., a nonprofit that touts itself as the largest funder of civil legal aid.
In July, an LSC survey found an 18% increase in the number of people eligible for civil legal assistance.