Support Funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC)

Civil legal aid programs ensure justice for all. The federal Legal Services Corporation helps fund Minnesota's civil legal aid programs and, through that funding, plays a critical role in leveraging the important work of pro bono attorneys.   

"What [LSC] has been committed to for years has nothing to do with party lines or partisanship. It has everything to do with our shared goal that everyone in this country has the right to equal and fair  representation under the law." - Congressman Tom Emmer (R - MN 6th District)

Delegates Emmer LowRes
Delegates McCollum LowRes

MSBA members visited Washington DC for the ABA’s annual ‘ABA Day on the Hill,’ and met with Minnesota's Congressional delegation to support Legal Services Corporation funding.  With Representative Tom Emmer (left) and Representative Betty McCollum (right)

Why is LSC important?

LSC helps thousands of Minnesotans access legal help when they face critical issues like domestic violence, unlawful eviction from their homes, and the unjust denial of essential services for veterans, the disabled, and seniors.

Rural areas are hardest hit.  It is particularly difficult to access critical legal assistance in rural areas of our state. Five Minnesota civil legal aid programs rely on $4.4 million in annual LSC funding, and many of those programs are located outside of the metro area.

Funding civil legal aid programs makes economic sense. Everyone benefits when we are able to keep our most vulnerable residents housed, safe, and stable. In 2015 alone, civil legal aid programs in Minnesota served 47,000 individuals and families. A recent economic impact report by the  Minnesota Legal Services Coalition and Minnesota State Bar Association showed that for every dollar invested in civil legal aid programs in Minnesota, the return on investment is $3.94.

We can't provide pro bono legal service without civil legal aid programs. LSC-funded civil legal aid programs serve many clients through leveraging pro bono attorney resources with the private bar.  Private attorneys rely on civil legal aid programs for training, support, and volunteer opportunities. In 2016, 1,010 MSBA members provided over 113,000 hours of pro bono services through civil legal aid programs, valued at over $22 million.

LSC funding does not meet the need. The 2018 omnibus appropriations act included a welcomed increase in funding for LSC—a $25 million increase over Fiscal Year 2017 to $410 million. This is below 2010 levels when adjusted for inflation. Even with the funding increase, the need for legal assistance far exceeds appropriations.

Civil legal aid programs in our state are forced to turn away three out of every five eligible callers due to a lack of resources. 

Latest Developments on LSC Funding 
American Bar Association 

Legal Aid's Impact 
An economic impact report specific to MN

2017 Justice Gap Report
Legal Services Corporation