November 18, 2008
STATE BAR ASSOCIATION URGES LEGISLATURE TO REJECT DRACONIAN BUDGET CUTS TO CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FOR LOWER INCOME NEW YORKERS
New York State Bar Association President Bernice K. Leber (Arent Fox LLP) released the following statement urging members of the New York State Legislature to reject budget cuts to programs that provide civil legal services to lower income New Yorkers:
"On behalf of the New York State Bar Association, I urge the members of the Legislature to oppose the Governor's proposal to slash civil legal services - cuts that would adversely impact a growing number of lower income New Yorkers who struggle daily in the face of the current economic crisis.
The State Bar understands the dire budget situation our leadership in Albany must confront. However, New York is one of only seven states that does not provide a stable funding source for civil legal services for the indigent in cases of eviction, housing disputes, child custody, revocation of public benefits and health care, and other areas. At a time of rising unemployment, foreclosures, and homelessness, the State should resist cutting already inadequate funding sources that presently render legal representation in civil cases essentially unaffordable to the poor.
We urge the State Legislature to support the concept of "equal justice for all" by rejecting these cuts to civil legal services."
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The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, the Association's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.