LSC UPDATES | MARCH 2020

LSC WELCOMES NEW PRESIDENT

Hear Ron Flagg's welcome and learn why he is committed to LSC's mission.
In February, LSC welcomed Ron Flagg as President, succeeding Jim Sandman, who is taking on the role of President Emeritus. Flagg has been with LSC for seven years as General Counsel, Vice President for Legal Affairs and Corporate Secretary.  

Before coming to LSC, he was a partner at Sidley Austin LLP for 27 years and spent 10 of those years chairing the firm's pro bono committee. Flagg served as president of the District of Columbia Bar in 2010-2011 and currently chairs the Bar’s pro bono task force. He also chairs the board of the National Veterans Legal Services Program.

“More than 70 years ago my parents escaped from Nazis Germany to come to America, a country founded on the promise of equal justice for all," explained Flagg. "For me there is no higher calling than to try to hold America to that promise, to make it a reality.”

In April, the LSC Board will appoint a search committee to conduct a national search for the next LSC president. 

LSC HOLDS ACCESS TO JUSTICE FORUM IN LITTLE ROCK

Colorado Legal Services Executive Director Jon Asher, LSC Vice President for Grants Management Lynn Jennings and Legal Aid of West Virginia Executive Director Adrienne Worthy take part in "Legal Aid in Rural America" panel in Little Rock. 
In January, LSC headed to Little Rock, Arkansas, for a forum on access to justice. Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Robin F. Wynne joined LSC Board Chair John G. Levi to offer opening remarks. The forum was held in conjunction with the LSC Board of Directors' quarterly meeting.
 
“When we say the pledge of allegiance, we close with the words liberty and justice for all and I think it’s important that everyone have – not just legal representation – but adequate or, better yet, excellent representation,” said Justice Wynne. “The idea of equal justice under the law is something in our country’s DNA.”
 
Following these remarks, a panel discussion highlighted the challenges of meeting the civil legal services needs of low-income individuals living in rural communities, including how opioid use has affected access to justice barriers. The panelists included attorneys at legal services organizations, a law professor and former fellows of LSC’s Rural Summer Legal Corp (RSLC). RSLC, a partnership with Equal Justice Works, places law students at LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations to provide direct services in underserved rural areas across the United States and its territories.
 
A panel discussion on the business community’s role in increasing access to justice followed. The panel featured representatives from leading businesses including Entergy Corporation, Southern Bancorp Community Partners, Tyson Foods and Walmart. The panelists explained why it is essential that the business community support efforts to ensure that consumers, employees and employers can access their legal rights and protections.
 
“We care about access to justice as a company because it’s the right thing to do and the smart thing to do,” said Entergy Corporation Pro Bono Counsel Christy Kane.  
 
LSC President Ron Flagg provided closing remarks. Following the forum, Chief Judge Lavenski R. Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit spoke at a luncheon in the Great Hall inside the Clinton Presidential Center. LSC Emerging Leaders Council Co-Chair Brad Robertson, a partner with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, also offered remarks. 
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LSC SUBMITS BUDGET REQUEST TO CONGRESS

LSC submitted its FY 2021 budget request for $652.6 million to Congress on February 10. This is an increase over last year’s request of $593 million. More than 95% of LSC’s request would go towards funding legal aid organizations around the country. LSC estimates that the increased funding would allow its grantees to assist low-income Americans with 60% more civil legal problems than they currently are able to serve.

The White House’s budget proposal calls for defunding LSC for the fourth year in row. The budget designates $18.2 million for costs to close LSC down.

In December, Congress approved, and President Trump signed into law, legislation that included $440 million for LSC in FY 2020. This represented an increase of $25 million over LSC’s previous appropriation of $415 million and is the largest appropriation in actual dollars in LSC’s history.

NEWS FROM THE FIELD

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