Presidential Proclamation Recognizes LSC's 35th Anniversary

President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation recognizing July 25 as the 35th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and calling upon the nation's legal professionals and all American citizens to "honor the contributions of this vital organization."

The Legal Services Corporation is the single largest provider of civil legal aid for the poor in the nation. Established by Congress in 1974, LSC operates as a private, nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice and provides grants for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. LSC distributes more than 95 percent of its total funding to 137 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with 918 offices that provide legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in every congressional district. Legal Services NYC is the LSC's New York City grantee.

The full text of the Proclamation follows:



Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                                                 

July 23, 2009

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Every day the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) breathes life into the timeless ideal, "equal justice under law." It reaches those who cannot afford the assistance they need and those who would otherwise go without vital representation. Today we recognize the 35 years during which the LSC has moved our Nation and our legal system towards greater equality.

The LSC brings legal counsel to every corner of the Nation. As the largest provider of civil legal aid to the poor, it supports programs that touch families in every State. Persons of all ethnic and racial backgrounds know its great work, and women, who represent 75 percent of LSC-supported clients, especially benefit from its expertise.

The Legal Services Corporation's work helps improve lives. It allows more people to access the public benefits they deserve, more domestic violence victims to secure the protections they desperately need, and more workers to receive the compensation they have been promised and earned.

During an economic crisis, the work of the LSC is especially important. When families face foreclosure, eviction, or bankruptcy, or when communities are targeted by predatory lenders, they need the help of legal professionals. These scenarios are far too common today. Fortunately, the LSC stands ready to meet these demands.

Because economically vulnerable communities continue to face an unmet need for legal services, my Administration has supported increased funding for the LSC. I have also recommended lifting several unnecessary restrictions on funding so that more people can receive assistance. These changes are critical to the organization's mission and work.

We have made great progress in protecting the legal rights of our citizens, and the Legal Services Corporation has played a vital role in this story for more than 3 decades. With continued support, it will serve those in need and help our Nation live out its highest ideals.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 25, 2009, as the 35th Anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation. I call upon legal professionals and the people of the United States to honor the contributions of this vital organization.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


(White House link)


In addition to the Presidential Proclamation,  statements from Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) were read into the Congressional Record of July 23, 2009, commemorating the 35th Anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation. 

PDF Links: Harkin statement, Cohen statement.

The Legal Services Corporation promotes equal access to justice by awarding grants to legal services providers through a competitive grants process; conducting compliance reviews and program visits to oversee program quality and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements as well as restrictions that accompany LSC funding; and by providing training and technical assistance to programs. LSC encourages programs to leverage limited resources by partnering and collaborating with other funders of civil legal aid, including state and local governments, IOLTA, access to justice commissions, the private bar, philanthropic foundations, and the business community. 




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