Letter from Wisconsin Corporate Counsel in Support of Funding the LSC

WEJF is participating in a statewide effort to preserve funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in the federal budget. LSC is the cornerstone of ensuring access to justice, providing financial support to legal aid organizations around the country that serve individuals and communities in need, as well as structure and resources for pro bono volunteers from law firms and legal departments. Two of WEJF’s beneficiary legal aid providers, Legal Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Judicare, will suffer devastating cuts to their operating budgets should Congress follow through on the President’s proposal to eliminate LSC funding.

As part of this effort to preserve LSC funding, we have drafted a letter on behalf of Wisconsin’s corporate counsel to our Congressional delegates urging them to reinstate LSC funding. If you are a corporate counsel in Wisconsin, please consider adding your name to the letter to show your support for these valuable legal aid programs.

To add your signature, please complete and submit the form below by Thursday, August 24.

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August 1, 2017

To:  Members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation

We are legal counsel for Wisconsin businesses, and we write to urge you to support funding for the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”) during this year’s budget process.  The LSC is an investment in the public good that pays dividends for Wisconsin residents and businesses, strengthening our communities and the rule of law.

The rule of law is essential to Wisconsin businesses.  It allows us to trade promises with strangers, and trust they’ll keep their word.  It permits us to plan and build and bring new goods and services into the world, and receive the fruits of our labor.  It promotes a culture where all expect to be treated fairly, and all are expected to treat others that way.

This healthy environment of respect for the rule of law is not automatic.  Respect follows from meaningful access to the legal system, meaningful access often requires legal help.  But those who cannot afford lawyers must navigate civil legal matters on their own, left to make life-altering legal decisions affecting their families, homes, and physical safety without the benefit of legal advice.

That is why LSC funding is so important.  LSC funds are used to provide no-cost services to people who need legal assistance on non-criminal matters, but cannot afford to hire their own lawyers.  In Wisconsin, the LSC provides almost half the funding for two organizations:  Wisconsin Judicare in the northern half of the State, and Legal Action of Wisconsin in the southern half.  Together, Judicare and Legal Action provide free civil legal services to well over 10,000 low-income residents a year who need them in every Wisconsin county, big or small.

These organizations’ legal guidance helps clients solve problems before they grow worse, while preventing future ones.  They stretch dollars to serve this State’s residents, and then multiply the value by attracting and coordinating pro bono service by other members of the Wisconsin Bar.  They strengthen our communities by helping people make informed legal decisions for themselves and their families, rather than leaving them to navigate without a compass.

Increasing the availability of such legal assistance is not only an end in itself.  Civil legal services help people stay in their homes, keep their families and themselves safe, and maintain the stability they need to stay on track in their pursuit of the American Dream.

As counsel for Wisconsin businesses, we believe that funding for the LSC’s efforts is a wise and important investment in the public good.  For more than 40 years, bipartisan Congresses have agreed.  While we understand that you must make difficult spending decisions in this budget process, we urge you to preserve funding for this critical component of our communities and our system of law.

*Signatures to be added*

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To add your signature, complete and submit the form below. Please feel free to forward this information to other in-house counsel who may be interested in signing the letter and let us know if you are interested in taking additional action in support of this important issue. Thank you!

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