STATE BAR ASSOCIATION OPPOSES U.S. CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE’S EFFORTS TO UNDERCUT CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES
Urges Congress Instead to Enact Increased Funding
for the Legal Services Corporation and to Lift Burdensome Restrictions
on Funds to Help the Poor
New York State Bar Association President Stephen P.
Younger of New York (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP) today
issued a statement in opposition to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s
recent efforts to undercut civil legal services by asking the U.S.
Senate to maintain current federal restrictions on the use of civil
legal services funds provided by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).
The Chamber’s efforts were made as the U.S. Senate prepares to
consider the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011, an act
funding and supporting the main functions of the federal government.
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s recent
attack on the Legal Service Corporation is very troubling because it
undoubtedly is aimed at harming the most needy and vulnerable people in
the United States,” said Younger. “Provisions of H.R.
3082, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011, would provide
much-needed funding for civil legal services and lift unreasonable
restrictions on the use of funds by legal services organizations,
including many service providers in New York State.
“Funding for such programs provides assistance to
those who are most vulnerable and in need of legal assistance,”
Younger continued. “The mortgage foreclosure crisis and associated
predatory lending is only the most recent example of a situation where
low-income families are those who suffer the most. Allowing legal
services providers funded by LSC to initiate class action lawsuits is a
cost-effective way to remedy wrongs committed against a large number of
victims who have lost their homes due to the unlawful activities of
banks and mortgage companies. The restriction against class action
lawsuits was unfair when it was initiated in 1996, and it is even more
“The New York State Bar Association rejects the
Chamber’s position on this issue and we urge the Congress to enact
increased funding for LSC and to eliminate unfair and unnecessary
restrictions on funds that are intended to help the poor.”
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the
official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest
voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876,
NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and
improved the justice system for more than 130 years. www.nysba.org.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993