STATEMENT BY FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT WILLIAM J. SCHIFINO, JR., REGARDING PROPOSED FEDERAL DEFUNDING OF LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION (LSC)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2017
CONTACT: Francine Walker,
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE: (850) 561-5762
"As Florida works on the difficult issue of access to civil justice, The Florida Bar and its more than 100,000 members stand firm in our longtime position to support adequate funding for the Legal Services Corporation and to oppose any funding cuts.
"It is distressing that the latest budget proposal eliminates funding for the national organization providing vital grants to nonprofit legal organizations that assist low-income people. Defunding LSC would cause a loss of more than $21 million a year to Florida’s already stressed legal aid system, leaving vulnerable children, seniors, veterans and many other Floridians without advocates to protect their legal rights.
"These proposed cuts are wrong financially; more than 30 studies show that legal aid delivers more in benefits than it costs. In fact, a recent study commissioned by The Florida Bar Foundation found a seven-fold return on investment in civil legal services.
"The defunding of the LSC will also have a negative effect on access to courts, where people attempting to represent themselves struggle to navigate the system, and is wrong for a compassionate society.
"I hope the voices of Florida’s lawyers, joining with those of other concerned and affected Americans, will persuade Congress to maintain funding for the Legal Services Corporation."
William J. Schifino, Jr.
President of The Florida Bar
EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."