LSC President, Jim Sandman Answers the Question: “What Is LSC?”

LSC President, Jim Sandman Answers the Question: “What Is LSC?”

Good evening I’m Jim Sandman. I’m president of the Legal Services Corporation. The Legal Services Corporation is the country’s largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income people. We support 132 legal aid programs with more than 850 offices serving every county in every state the territories and the District of Columbia. We are the backbone of legal aid in the United States. Legal aid addresses the most fundamental issues of any society and the most basic of human needs. Legal aid is about families and family stability. It’s about child custody and child support, adoptions and guardianship. Legal aid is about personal safety, protection against abuse and violence. Legal aid is about the roof over your head, shelter, protection from evictions and foreclosures. Legal aid is about health and food and subsistenc. But, legal aid is about more than just corporal needs. It’s about respecting human dignity. It’s about asserting and protecting legal rights for people who can’t afford to pay for assistance. Legal aid nourishes spirits and souls. It gives people faith that our nation’s solemn pledge of justice for all is alive and real and not some cruel illusion. It gives people hope that they can get a fair shake in our justice system. Legal aid is about justice. Justice. It’s a value as old as the Scriptures. Deuteronomy commands justice. Justice, shall he pursue? Amos prayed that justice might flow down like waters. Our Country’s founders and the framers of our national government emphasized over and over again that justice was their first goal and value. Alexander Hamilton, who’s kind of popular these days said, ‘the first duty of society is justice.’ Thomas Jefferson said, “The most sacred of the duties of government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.” George Washington said, “The first pillar of good government is the due administration of justice.” James Madison wrote in Federalist number 51, “Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued Until it be obtained or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.” But, our justice system today is failing. Millions of people every year who don’t have the means to afford legal assistance. Our courts are overwhelmed with unrepresented people who try and fail to navigate a system that was created with lawyers in mind We can and we must fix this. It will cost money lots of it. But, don’t let anyone ever tell you that we can’t afford it Federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation amounts to less than what Americans spend every year on Halloween costumes for their pets. Don’t tell me we can’t afford it. You know what we can’t afford? We can’t afford to tolerate the continued degradation of justice to the detriment of the disadvantaged. We can’t afford to default on the vision of our founders and on the foundational and foremost of their values. That’s what we can’t afford. All of you here this evening by your presence reaffirm your commitment to justice. I hope this concert refuels your passion that together we might pursue our sacred vision of justice with the urgency that the task requires. God bless the American Bar Association, the most faithful and effective advocate of the Legal Services Corporation. Over now more than 45 years. And, God bless America. [applause] Thank you.


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    Martin Wegbreit

    This is my 41st year as a legal aid attorney. In all that time, I honestly can say that Jim Sandman (call me Jim, or call me Sandman, but don't call me Mr. Sandman) is the smartest, most dedicated, hardest working, and most passionate President of the Legal Services Corporation. Ever. This is well worth a listen. Martin Wegbreit, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Richmond, VA.

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