Archive for July, 2010

Public Interest News Bulletin: July 30, 2010

This week’s Bulletin carries news of a possible indigent-defense caseload crisis in Missouri, more bad news about legal services funding in New Jersey, good news about clinic funding at Albany Law School, staff expansion at Pisgah Legal Services, a successful diversionary program for wayward Connecticut yoots, and a medical-legal partnership in the Lone Star State.   

  • 7.28.10 – Press Release – “Albany Law School recently received a $205,000 grant from the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC) to fund a new Housing Clinic within the law school’s Clinic & Justice Center.  In the Housing Clinic, students will work with Albany Law faculty to offer legal services, outreach, educational opportunities and housing counseling to homeowners and tenants affected by foreclosure in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties.”  Link to press release.
  • 7.27.10 – Mountain Express (North Carolina) – with the addition of four staffers to its Mountain Violence Prevention Project, Pisgah Legal Services has doubled its person-power in providing assistance to domestic violence victims.  Link to article.
  • 7.25.10 – Connecticut Post – a Connecticut program to divert teens who are status offenders (skipping school, running away, etc.), but who do not actually commit crimes, to support centers rather than detention facilities has met with considerable success. “[T]he model is seen as so successful it’s being touted as a “best practice” by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.”  Link to article.
  • 7.23.10 – Brownsville Herald (Texas) – a medical-legal partnership between Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and the Brownsville Community Health Center, forged in 2008, promotes collaboration between medical and legal professionals and allows them to take a holistic approach to helping l0w-income client populations.  “For years, the traditional health-care system and the legal system have treated low-income, underserved populations in isolation, despite the strong connection between social stressors and health, partnership members said. But the health center’s medical-legal partnership…allows doctors and attorneys to work together…”  Link to article.  [Ed. Note: in March the PSLawNet Blog covered the trend of similar medical-legal partnerships springing up across the country.  Public-interest minded law students who have a background or interest in the healthcare system should think about how they may connect to this “growth field” in the legal services community.  Often the lawyers participating in such partnerships will be working on matters unrelated to healthcare, such as housing or public benefits, but a knowledge of how low-income communities access healthcare would still be a terrific asset for a lawyer who is working with medical professionals.]

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Applying for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship? Tune in Aug. 2!

Equal Justice Works is offering a webinar Monday, Aug. 2 at 10am Eastern for people interested in their post-graduate fellowship program. You can register online for the webinar, which will cover

  • Who is eligible to apply for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship (Candidate, Project, Host Organization)
  • The benefits of a Fellowship and the Host Organization’s responsibilities
  • How the application process works
  • Tips in creating a successful application that cover Project Description, Candidate Background, and Host Organization Background.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, now is a great time to go read some of the PSLawNet resources on fellowships. We’ve got a great blog post from a successful sponsored fellowship applicant, an earlier blog post with a lot of advice and resources – including the PSLawNet Fellowship Application Tip Sheet. We also have a good Q&A page with information not just on sponsored fellowships but other types as well. Finally, please remember that you can search for organizational sponsors through PSLawNet itself by selecting “FELLOWSHIP – Sponsor” as the job type in your search.

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Seeking Nominations: PSLawNet Pro Bono Publico Award

Do you  know an amazing law student who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to public service? Consider nominating them for the 16th Annual PSLawNet Pro Bono Publico Award! The Award seeks to honor students who have made an exceptional contribution to under-served populations, the public interest community, and legal education by performing pro bono or public service work. While anyone at a PSLawNet subscriber school can nominate a student, we encourage you to work in conjunction with your public interest and/or career services office to submit a comprehensive application (nomination forms are available online – pdf). Applications are due by Thursday, September 9. The award winner will be invited to Washington, DC to be honored during an Award Luncheon at NALP’s Public Service Mini-Conference on Thursday, October 21, 2010.

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Public Interest News Bulletin: July 23, 2010

 This week’s Bulletin brings news and commentary on how resource shortages in Michigan and Missouri public defense offices are being addressed (or not), the spike in pro se litigation throughout the country as more lower- and middle-income people find themselves with legal problems but are unable to afford lawyers, public benefit administration troubles in Indiana, legal services funding cuts on both sides of the Delaware River, how we should be assessing the value of pro bono work, a prison sentence for a former legal services employee who raided the till, and U. of Maryland law students bringing Terrapin love and legal skill to clients all around the globe.

  • 7.22.10 – Columbia Missourian – “Criminal defendants in southwest Missouri will not be eligible for a state public defender until next month because of high caseloads and overworked lawyers. The state public defender system said Thursday that its Springfield office would not accept new cases until August because its 20 lawyers cannot handle any more defendants.”  State government officials from all three branches have been grappling with high public defender caseloads for years, but have been unable to agree on a solution.  It is unclear what courts will do to keep the criminal justice system’s wheels turning in light of this development.  Link to article.
  • 7.22.10 – Wall Street Journal – As a result of the recession, “[a] growing number of people have found themselves in court facing costly financial proceedings such as declaring bankruptcy, fighting foreclosure and litigating employment fights. Adding to the challenge, for many: The high cost of legal representation often prompts them to go it alone.”  Some observers argue that “lawyers have created quasi-monopolies” that ultimately restrict the public’s access to legal services.  And as for low-income individuals who would qualify for free legal services, service providers are dealing with overwhelming client demand and with their own resource shortages.  Link to article.  [Ed. note: also see item 6 below for Washington Post coverage of a recent ABA report on the spike in pro se representation across the country.  And see this 7.22.10 PSLawNet Blog post which aggregates other media coverage of the pro se spike and reactions to it from the legal community.] 
  • 7.20.10 – Associated Press – “For at least a decade, potentially thousands of Indiana’s neediest adults have seen some of their state aid payments slashed simply because they receive food stamps — a practice that advocates and legal experts say is a clear violation of federal law….Under the current system, when the federal government raises food stamp amounts, Indiana officials reduce grocery allowances so a person’s total food benefits do not exceed $200 a month.  But since 1964, federal law has barred states from counting food stamps as income or using them to reduce any other public benefits.”  A spokesperson for the state’s Family and Social Services Administration says that the agency does not think the benefit calculation policy ran afoul of federal law, but “…legal experts say courts have consistently upheld the law that says other assistance cannot be reduced because someone is receiving food stamps…[and]…welfare officials in other states said they were surprised Indiana would even try to count food stamps against other benefits.”  Link to article.
  • 7.20.10 – The Citizen (Georgia) – “A Pike County death penalty case…has drawn national headlines and an effort to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The appeal centers on whether the state, by not allowing adequate funding for defense attorneys for Jamie Weis, is violating Weis’ right to a speedy trial.”  When the state’s public defense agency had no funding to continue paying two appointed defense attorneys, the prosecutor in the case requested that the court assign it to two public defenders.  The court did so, and the “removal of Weis’ original attorneys drew the attention of The New York Times, which last week took aim at the theory that [the prosecutor] was able to pick his opponent in court.”  After months of continued delays the defendant appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court on the argument that his constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated by the state.  The court disagreed, but the case may now go to the Supreme Court of the United States.  Link to article.  [Ed note: the PSLawNet Blog has covered the Weis case in several recent posts.  The New York Times article referenced above and links to prior coverage are available in item 3 of our July 9, 2010 Public Interest News Bulletin.]
  • 7.19.10 – Centre Daily Times (Pennsylvania) – MidPenn Legal Services, which serves clients in 18 Keystone State counties, “saw a 23% increase in the demand for its services last year” while dealing with funding decreases totaling $1 million.  The “flat funding has meant a hiring freeze program-wide.”  The economic downturn has caused state funding of legal services programs throughout Pennsylvania to drop from $3.17 million to $3.04 million in the past two years.  This decrease comes in tandem with a much more precipitous drop in IOLTA revenue streams.  Link to article.
  • 7.19.10 – Washington Post – “The economic downturn has sent more people into the court system at a time when they are less able to afford representation and fewer organizations have the resources to provide it pro bono or at a reduced cost.”  A recently issued report from the American Bar Association contains results of survey responses from judges that showed increasing caseloads in home foreclosure, domestic violence, and other issues.  Along with the risen caseloads, many parties are acting pro se, which strains courthouse resources.  “Of the 78 percent of judges who said self-represented individuals had a negative impact on the court, most noted that it slowed courtroom procedure and used more staff time to assist pro se litigants.”  One of the reasons that so many more litigants are representing themselves is that legal services organizations which could provide free help to low-income parties are fighting rising caseloads and shrunken revenue streams of their own.  Link to article.  [Ed. Note: here is a link to the ABA report, the findings of which are characterized as “preliminary”: Report on the Survey of Judges on the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Representation in the Courts.]
  • 7.19.10 – National Law Journal [Opinion Piece] –  law firm pro bono contributions, as measured quantitatively, have not dropped during the recession.  And many more firms have created “pro bono counsel/partner” positions in the past 10 years.  But when it comes to assessing the value of pro bono work, “a fundamental difficulty involves the dominance of ranking systems that use hourly rates as the sole measure of performance.”  Many pro bono stakeholders are concerned that a “preoccupation with quantity [diverts] attention from quality and social impact.”  To better measure the effectiveness of pro bono programs, one option is to expand assessment criteria to include more qualitative measures, such as how firms evaluate and prioritize pro bono projects in light of community needs, and how pro bono culture is rooted inside firms.  Link to piece.      
  • 7.19.10 – a former program manager at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for defrauding the legal services provider out of nearly $135,000 between 2003 and 2006.  Link to article.
  • 7.17.10 – Baltimore Sun – 13 University of Maryland School of Law students joined four law professors last spring as the school opened clinics in Mexico (migrant labor issues), China (micro-entrepreneurship/small-business issues), and Namibia (water and reproductive rights issues), carrying forward the mission of the school’s clinical program to give students a diverse array experiential-learning opportunities and to offer help to poor client populations.  Link to article.
  • 7.17.10 – The Record (New Jersey) – Legal Services of New Jersey is facing a 33% cut in state funding that will result in layoffs of 100 staff members.  LSNJ, a statewide program composed of 6 regional programs, “has dropped from 720 staffers at its peak in 2007 to around 590 now…[and]…by the end of 2010 it will have fewer than 500,” according to LSNJ’s president.  The cuts in staff – which is 60% attorneys – will greatly reduce the number of cases that LSNJ, which already routinely turns prospective clients away, can handle on behalf of low-income Garden State residents.  Link to article.
  • 7.16.10 – The Detroit News – “The Michigan Supreme Court reversed itself today and threw out a lawsuit that was aimed at holding the state responsible for failure to provide adequate funding to hire lawyers for poor people accused of crimes.  The state’s high court in April upheld earlier favorable lower court decisions for the lawsuit brought by eight men and women…against the state and Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Intended to become a class-action lawsuit that would include all people convicted of crimes in Michigan while represented by court-appointed counsel, the case appeared headed for trial in Ingham County Circuit Court until today’s abrupt reversal.”  Link to article.

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Pro Se News Roundup

The ABA Coalition for Justice, which focuses on access to justice issues, released a report last week on a recent survey of state trial judges (pdf). The survey was examining the effect of the recession on the number of self-represented, or pro se, litigants in their courtrooms.  We’ve blogged a lot here about the increase in pro se litigation, and thought this would be a good time to round up all our old stories with some new ones.

The ABA Journal wrote a brief article about the survey and its findings, highlighting some of the more distressing news, such as 62% of the judges responding believe that self-representation leads to worse outcomes for litigants. The Washington Post followed that up with an article this week explaining the survey, and reminding readers that a lot of people who might normally be able to get help from civil legal aid resources have been shut out due to organizations facing decreased funding because IOLTA revenues have fallen so far (you can learn more about IOLTA from this earlier blog post).

Back in April we included a story out of Maine in one of our news bulletins, where one judge estimated that fully 75% of litigants appearing in his court are unrepresented. That blurb also had links to stories about Michigan (now requires a paid subscription) and Texas facing similar situations.  We also blogged separately about the situation in Texas. This piece from the Texas Tribune discusses what some courts are doing to try to help pro se litigants – specifically starting self help centers so people can find the necessary information to represent themselves effectively (and not slow down the courts as much).

Finally, last week the Baltimore Sun had an article about a self-help center in the Glen Burnie district courthouse.  The Center is staffed by employees of the Legal Aid Bureau, and while it seems to be quite popular the Bureau and other legal aid offices are already stretched very thin between decreased funding and increased demand. One potential bright spot for law students in all this is that there may be more internship and pro bono opportunities available in these self-help centers as they expand across the country.

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Expert Opinion: A Front-line Advocate for Our Veterans. Meet Michael Taub…

Michael Taub, a 2003 graduate of the Villanova University School of Law, has served as a staff attorney with the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) in Philly since 2005. The PSlawNet Blog came to know Michael at that time because our offices were right down the hall from each other. He’s a great lawyer with an unwavering commitment to helping his clients, many of whom are veterans who’ve run into difficulties since leaving military service. Michael’s also an all-around good fellow, so we don’t hold it against him that he’s originally from Jersey. Or that he prefers Wilco to Son Volt. He’s just too good a person for us to quibble with those things. We digress. We asked Michael…

How would you describe your position at HAP, and how did you arrive there?   I am a staff attorney and director of our Veterans Project.  The majority of my time is spent representing homeless veterans on their claims and appeals for VA benefits.  However, I also represent non-veterans on claims/appeals for SSI and welfare benefits.  Finally, I represent clients facing eviction in L&T court, as well as homeless parents seeking custody rights of their children.  I came to my job essentially from law school, although I did a short stint at a law firm after graduation.  At the firm, I quickly came to realize that my heart was in public interest, so I left as soon as I found another job.  My position at HAP was originally funded by a fellowship, and the attorney who established the position was relocating.  I was lucky.

Tell us about your clients generally.  Are the majority veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq operations?  And how has the recession impacted your clients?   My clients are mostly veterans of the Vietnam era.  At the time vets were returning from the war in Vietnam, the VA did not provide comprehensive mental health services, so many vets came home with severe but untreated mental illness, mostly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Those vets struggled to reintegrate into society, and many ended up homeless.  Unfortunately, many still are, and they make up the majority of my caseload, not to mention of the homeless veterans population in general.

Only a handful of my clients served in Iraq or Afghanistan.  It is expected that more of these veterans will end up homeless in the future, but that right now those on the brink of homelessness are still somehow afloat.  The VA has certainly stepped up its outreach and mental health services since Vietnam, so this too may contribute to the lower numbers. 

As for the recession, I am certainly seeing more clients who lost both their jobs and homes, and are now in shelter.  These clients often have job skills and a willingness to work, but with so few companies hiring, they eventually ended up in shelter or living in their cars.  With these clients, we may help them appeal denied unemployment claims or, since they are so unfamiliar with the world of public benefits, just help them apply for food stamps or medical assistance.

What are the three most challenging aspects of your job?  I really don’t look at my job as challenging.  That’s not to say it is easy, but I see it as more exciting than challenging.  When a client comes to me with a problem, my mind starts thinking of the many ways I can help.  That to me is invigorating, and I love the process.  I suppose if there is one aspect of my job that is unquestionably challenging it is dealing with bureaucracies.  In other words, once I’ve worked out the best course of action for my client, implementing that course is often trickier in practice than theory.

What aspect(s) of your job gives you the most joy?  Unquestionably my clients.  I love talking with them, meeting with them, and of course, helping them.  Despite their homelessness, they are overall a happy, funny, quirky, and intelligent group of people.  They make me cry and they make me laugh.  At end of a meeting with a client, I am always amazed at how much I have learned about MYSELF, even though they were the ones sharing their life stories. 

What advice would you offer law students who are pursuing careers in civil legal services?  The best job to have is one where your colleagues are also your friends.  I come to work every day knowing that I have the trust and support of my co-workers.  If I have a day filled with favorable outcomes, they are happy for me.  If I have a day filled with sad stories, they are always willing to help pick me up.  Much as I believe in my clients and the work I do for them, without my colleagues, I would not be able to do this work.  The environment you work in is as important as the work you do.  Always keep this in mind when interviewing for a job.

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Expert Opinion: Project-based Fellowship Proposal Tips From One Who's Been There

Today’s Expert Opinion column is full of great advice about how to approach your project-based fellowship applications this summer from David Steib, a 2008 Skadden Fellow. David joined the Legal Aid Society of DC in September 2008 as a Skadden Fellow in the housing unit. His project focuses on bringing legal services to the Spanish-speaking community through direct outreach in the Columbia Heights area and through work with the DC Language Access Coalition. During law school, David interned for several public interest organizations, including the Legal Aid Society of DC. In 2007, he was awarded the John J. Curtin, Jr. Fellowship by the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty to intern for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. David also interned with Bread for the City and the Humane Society of the United States. He was a student of the Georgetown Domestic Violence Clinic. David received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Read David’s Fellowship advice after the jump!

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Public Interest News Bulletin: July 16, 2010

 This week’s Bulletin carries news of law firm pro bono, legal services funding in North Mississippi, an expansion in law school clinical programs at DePaul, criticism of the Legal Services Corporation, indigent defense resource shortages in New York and Nevada, Maryland’s efforts to help pro se litigants, some changes in the Presidential Management Fellows program, and, ending as we began, more law firm pro bono.

  • 7.14.10 – American Lawyer Daily – in Florida and elsewhere around the country, law firms are helping to soften the foreclosure crisis’s blow for low-income individuals, even in circumstances where firms traditionally haven’t done pro bono because of potential conflicts with financial institution clients.  For instance, the Florida Attorneys Saving Homes (FASH) program uses the services of pro bono attorneys who help mortgage borrowers by restructuring their loans before a lender forecloses.  The attorney can negotiate, even in some cases with a law firm client or business prospect, without worrying about having to actually litigate against that party.  In other cities, firms are finding other ways to represent borrowers’ interests without fouling relationships with institutional lenders.  Link to piece.
  • 7.14.10 – WTVA Television Station Website (NBC Affiliate in Northern Mississippi) – “North Mississippi Rural Legal Services has been awarded a $75,000 grant by the Mississippi Bar Foundation Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts….NMRLS officials say the funds will be used to enhance program operations including operation of our telephone intake system known as the Call Center.”  This year, the Magnolia State’s IOLTA program has channeled over $612,000 in grants to the public interest community.   Link to article.
  • 7.14.10 – Chicago Tribune –  DePaul University College of Law has “doubled the number of [law student] clinics in the past four years.”  The school’s nine clinics cover family law, civil rights, death penalty appeals, special education advocacy, and more.  Aside from serving low-income clients, the clinics give students hands-on experiential learning opportunities that do not exist in the classroom.  “[I]n an economy that has seen lawyers laid off from even the most prestigious firms, employers have their pick of attorneys and want graduates who arrive knowing how to interview a witness or negotiate a settlement…”  Link to article.  
  • 7.13.10 – U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report on Legal Services Corporation Practices: “Improvements Needed in Controls over Grant Awards and Grantee Program Effectiveness” –  a GAO report, which is dated June 2010 but which appears to have circulated publicly for the first time this week, is critical of LSC’s management/administration policies regarding its financial grants to the 136 independent legal services providers that it funds throughout the U.S.  Link to report.  Link to National Law Journal coverage.  Link to LSC Press Release in response to report.  [Ed. Note: shortly after the GAO report’s release, the Center for Public Integrity published a piece that is highly critical of LSC management practices, and that highlights three instances of former employees at LSC grantee organizations embezzling funds for personal use.  In response to this piece, Jonathan Smith, executive director of the (non-LSC funded) Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, posted a blog entry in which he criticizes the CPI piece as being incomplete and painting an inaccurate picture of the legal services community.   It is noteworthy, and indeed Smith mentions in his blog post, that the criticism directed at LSC comes as the organization’s budget appropriation is being considered on the Hill.]  
  • 7.13.10 – Times Herald-Record (New York State) – resource shortages plague indigent defense networks in New York counties, and “[a] number of reports by defense and constitutional advocacy groups have concluded that the public defender system needs better funding and better standards, or there will be no equal justice.”  Link to article.
  • 7.12.10 – Baltimore Sun – as Maryland’s courts try “to cope with an onslaught of people representing themselves”, a self-help center for pro se litigants in Anne Arundel County is serving as a test model to ease strains on the court system and help parties who are not represented by counsel.  “Staffed by members of the Legal Aid Bureau, the pilot program is aimed at the meat-and-potatoes civil cases — small claims, landlord-tenant disputes, creditor-debtor issues and protective orders — that can clog the court system and lead to frustration when people try to handle the cases themselves.”  Link to article.
  • 7.11.10 – Reno Gazette Journal – “A state commission tasked with determining whether Nevada’s court-appointed lawyers are doing a good job representing poor defendants has stalled amid arguing over…how…cases should be counted.”  Last year, a report commissioned by the Nevada Supreme Court concluded that the indigent defense system was in trouble.  But as public defenders, prosecutors, and other court officials have come together to look for solutions, they are disagreeing over threshold questions about how to define the scale and scope of the problem.  Link to article.  [Ed. note: here is a link to the July 2009 report – Assessment of the Washoe and Clark County, Nevada Public Defender Offices.] 
  • 7.9.10 – FedBlog (a blog of the Government Executive news website) – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is planning to improve some aspects of the Presidential Management Fellows program, including bolstering outreach to schools, shoring up the fellow placement infrastructure, and solidifying alumni networks.  Link to blog post.
  • July, 2010 – Pro Bono Institute – “In 2009, 134 of the nation’s largest law firms reported their pro bono statistics to the Pro Bono Institute. Not all respondents provided information on every question. These firms performed a combined 4,867,820 total hours of pro bono work, as compared to 134 firms that performed 4,844,098 hours in 2008, an increase of 0.5% in pro bono time contributed by [participating] firms. While this percentage increase is statistically insignificant, it speaks volumes for the commitment to pro bono made by…firms at a time when law firms and, indeed the world, were experiencing untold changes.”  Link to report.

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Social Media – We're Out There!

We thought 6 months into this blog’s life would be a good time to remind all you lovely readers that we exist elsewhere in the social media universe too.

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GAO Report Critical of Legal Services Corporation Grant Administration Procedures

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report on practices of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), entitled “Improvements Needed in Controls over Grant Awards and Grantee Program Effectiveness.”  As is suggested by its title, the report takes a fairly critical tone, particularly regarding LSC’s administration of financial grants to the 136 independent legal services providers that it funds throughout the U.S.:

Although LSC’s controls over reviewing and awarding grants are intended to help ensure fair and equitable consideration, they need improvement. Final award and fund decisions are documented and approved; however, LSC’s grant application evaluation process and associated decisions were not documented, including key management discussions in the evaluation process…

…At times, LSC did not adhere to its budget execution process in awarding contracts supporting its key grant-making responsibilities…

…Missing or flawed internal controls limit LSC’s ability to effectively manage its grant award and grantee performance oversight responsibilities.
 

 

The report contained several new recommendations to correct the problems it identified, mostly centered on improving internal management/administration procedures.  And as is reported in today’s National Law Journal, there are some silver linings:

But it wasn’t all bad news. The GAO noted that it issued two reports about LSC in 2007 with 17 recommendations, and that LSC had implemented 11 of them. Nonetheless, GAO came up with 17 new actions to improve LSC’s operations… LSC president Victor Fortuno in a letter to GAO accepted all the recommendations, though he asserted several have already been implemented.

In a press release issued yesterday, LSC evinced a willingness to carry out recommended changes:

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) will implement recommendations of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to improve internal controls over grant awards, LSC President Victor M. Fortuno said today…  “The stewardship of taxpayer dollars is one of our most important responsibilities,” President Fortuno said. “We accept all GAO recommendations and will closely work with the GAO and the Congress to enhance oversight of grant awards and the performance of the independent nonprofit programs that receive LSC funding.”

This comes during a time when LSC and advocates for equal access to justice are hoping for an appropriations boost in order to channel more money into legal services.  The recession has not only profoundly impacted poor people, but it’s created more poor people as individuals and families have slipped toward poverty.  As  a consequence, the need for legal services within low-income communities has swollen.  But legal services providers are struggling with diminished revenue sources as they’re trying to meet the greater need.  For more, see this piece from the Brennan Center’s Emily Savner.

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