Law Day 2021: Message from John G. Levi, Chairman, Legal Services Corporation

May 3, 2021

This year’s Law Day theme, “Advancing the Rule of Law Now,” commemorates a bedrock principle of our democracy at a time when that principle has been under challenge for a number of reasons, currently and most significantly, the global pandemic.

COVID-19 has sparked an enormous surge in demand for legal services provided by LSC grantees in matters such as eviction, unemployment insurance, domestic violence and other family law issues, deepening an already existing crisis in unmet need.

And while LSC and its grantees, as well as the justice system as a whole, have launched remarkable efforts to ensure that Americans have access to the justice system through remote technology, social media and other means, far too many remain on the outside looking in. 

We must redouble our commitment to these initiatives if we are to “advance the rule of law now” because equal access is an essential element of this core value, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor has observed:

“The rule of law is the foundation for all our basic rights. Yet, how can a country built on that premise ultimately fulfill its promise to its citizens if all are not able to fairly access the legal system?” 

This recognition recalls the spirit of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1958 proclamation establishing Law Day that called on Americans to "vigilantly guard the great heritage of liberty, justice, and equality under law which our forefathers bequeathed to us." 

I call on all Americans to join in expanding our country’s commitment to equal access to justice and the rule of law.

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. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.