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March 11, 2011

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION URGES CONGRESS TO PROTECT LEGAL SERVICES FOR THE POOR

House earlier voted to slash Legal Services Corporation budget by $70 million

ALBANY--New York State Bar Association President Stephen P. Younger today called on Congress to reject spending cuts for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), which provides critical legal services to low-income Americans.
   
In February, the House voted to slash the LSC budget by $70 million, or 18 percent. Because the Senate rejected this cut, negotiations now are taking place.

"The Legal Services Corporation assists thousands of low-income Americans by providing them with lawyers in serious civil matters, including child custody, orders of protection, apartment evictions and home foreclosures. Cutting LSC funding is a cruel blow to people who are already in crisis," said Younger (Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler).  "If our neighbors lose custody of a child, become victims of domestic violence or become homeless - all for lack of a lawyer - the cost to our government will be far greater than the cost of providing legal services."

The House's February proposal would result in a loss of more than $5 million to organizations providing legal services to low-income New Yorkers. "Since the cuts would come mid-year, the true impact is equivalent to a $10 million cut over six months," Younger noted.
 
Younger applauded U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand for their con-tinued advocacy on behalf of indigent legal services.
 
On February 14, the American Bar Association passed a resolution, initiated by the New York State Bar Association and co-sponsored by 25 other groups, opposing cuts to the LSC in the current fiscal year and urging Congress to provide adequate funds to address the legal needs of low-income litigants.

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation.  It was founded in 1876.  

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