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Legal Service Corp. requests substantial boost in funding to meet growing need

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In the budget released March 4, the White House recommended the Legal Services Corp. receive a federal appropriation of $430 million for the fiscal year 2015.

LSC, the national agency that provides funding to legal aid offices around the U.S. including to Indiana Legal Services, applauded President Barack Obama’s proposed 18 percent increase over current funding. Along with the appropriation, Obama’s budget contains a new $56 billion “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative” which will give additional support to legal aid.

“The President clearly understands the importance of adequately funding civil legal assistance, even in these tough financial times,” said LSC Board Chairman John Levi.  

However, the administration requested $430 million for fiscal year 2014, but Congress appropriated $365 million.

While the congressional appropriation gave a welcomed increase over the $340 million allotted in FY 2013, the LSC pointed out if funding had kept pace with inflation, the agency’s appropriation this year would top $600 million.

The same day the White House unveiled its budget, the LSC asked Congress for a higher increase to $486 million for the coming FY 2015. This is the same level of support it requested the year before.

“Our request to Congress balances record-high demand for civil legal aid against the realities of the federal budget environment,” said LSC president James Sandman.

Nearly 93 percent of the proposed appropriation, more than $451 million, would be devoted to basic field grants that fund the delivery of civil legal assistance to low-income households, according to the LSC. Also, $5 million would be used for IT grants; $1 million for student loan repayment assistance to legal aid lawyers; $19.5 million for management and grants oversight; ad $4.2 million for the Office of Inspector General.

In addition, the LSC is requesting $5 million to expand its Pro Bono Innovation Fund, an initiative first funded by Congress in FY 2014. This fund supports new and innovative projects that enhance pro bono efforts around the country.

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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