SEATTLE, Wash. (March 20, 2017) - Perkins Coie, a global law firm with more than 1,000 attorneys, announces its concern, along with more than 150 major U.S. law firms with offices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, regarding reported plans for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to propose budget cuts that eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The LSC provides vital civil legal aid in all 50 states to a wide range of Americans, including women seeking protection from domestic violence, families struggling to stay in their homes, homeless veterans seeking the benefits they earned and disaster victims needing help to recover.
As evidence of its support, Perkins Coie, along with 155 other nationwide law firms, signed a petition urging the federal government to continue funding the LSC. The letter notes: “Through our lawyers, our firms provide millions of hours of free legal services to individuals in desperate need of assistance. This volunteer service is not independent of the legal aid agencies funded by the Legal Services Corporation - rather, our ability to provide pro bono legal services is directly dependent on partnership with legal aid organizations, which screen cases for merit and eligibility, and train and mentor attorneys. Eliminating the Legal Services Corporation will not only imperil the ability of civil legal aid organizations to serve Americans in need, it will also vastly diminish the private bar’s capacity to help these individuals. The pro bono activity facilitated by LSC funding is exactly the kind of public-private partnership the government should encourage, not eliminate.”
“Perkins Coie’s commitment to community pro bono support is a deeply rooted part of our firm’s core culture,” said John Devaney, Managing Partner of Perkins Coie. “There is a very serious risk that the LSC, and many of its community partners, will lose important funding with dire consequences to vulnerable Americans most in need of free legal counsel and support.”
Perkins Coie believes that it is important to provide top-quality legal service on a pro bono basis to those who need it most. Through the firm’s pro bono legal work and other public and community service efforts, we continue to change lives and transform our communities. In 2016, Perkins Coie attorneys and legal staff donated approximately 52,000 hours of pro bono legal service.
The LSC is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The LSC promotes equal access to justice by providing funding to 134 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. LSC grantees serve thousands of low-income individuals, children, families, seniors, and veterans in 813 offices in every congressional district.
About Perkins Coie: Founded in 1912, Perkins Coie LLP has more than 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States and Asia. The firm provides a full array of corporate, commercial litigation and intellectual property legal services to a broad range of clients, from FORTUNE 50 corporations to emerging growth startups, as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.
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