Legal-Aid Crisis

Do the poor have adequate access to legal services?


More than one in seven Americans lives below the poverty line, the highest proportion in nearly two decades, and many cannot afford a lawyer to resolve non-criminal legal problems involving such issues as spousal abuse, eviction, child custody and consumer fraud. Government-financed legal-aid programs have long helped fill the gap, but the weak economy and enormous pressure on state and federal budgets are putting those programs at risk. The Legal Services Corp., a nonprofit that distributes federal funding to civil legal-aid programs nationwide, faces potentially steep budget cuts in Congress, and some conservatives want to end the program altogether. As money for legal-aid programs shrinks, a growing number of poor people are representing themselves in court — often to their own detriment. Meanwhile, debate continues ...

locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles