Nathan Hecht Addresses the Battle for Legal Funding
Legal Services Corp., the primary funder for Legal Aid and civil assistance legal organizations around the country, has scaled back budgetary requests due to talk of budget cuts from Congress. Jim Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corp., has been contacting judges, law firm leaders and corporate counsel around the country to meet with legislators and to explain the importance of civil legal aid organizations.
Among those working on reaching out to congressmen is Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, who recently met with Senator John Cornyn of Texas and other law makers to reiterate why the country needs to fund civil legal assistance organizations. Other lawyers from Texas joined Chief Justice Hecht on the trip to Washington, D.C. to speak to other members of Congress from Texas.
Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer Bradford L. Smith and Home Depot’s General Counsel Teresa Wynn Roseborough also attended Legal Services’ board meeting in a show of support for its role in the legal system.
According to Chief Justice Hecht, in Texas alone, legal aid providers handled an estimated 110,000 cases in 2016, which accounted for 10 or 15 percent of the people who needed assistance. He says that there weren’t enough resources to help others who were losing their house, being evicted, wrongfully terminated or in need of civil counsel for other reasons but could not afford a lawyer.
“It’s about something we need to do. It’s about justice. It’s about the rule of law. This isn’t an entitlements program, it’s a way to get legal services to the people that need them,” said Chief Justice Hecht.
Learn more about Legal Services Corp. and Chief Justice Hecht’s efforts here.
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