LSV Wins Grant to Expand Pro Bono Legal Services
WASHINGTON — The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced on September 20, 2023, that it is awarding a Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant of $227,982 to Legal Services Vermont (LSV).
LSV is one of 17 legal aid organizations receiving a grant. In total, LSC is awarding $5 million to support efforts to expand and improve pro bono legal services for low-income Americans.
In the face of a vast justice gap — where low-income people do not receive sufficient legal help for 92% of their civil legal problems — pro bono services are one of the approaches that LSC advances to address the disparities in access to justice.
Expanding pro bono and other volunteer services gives legal aid providers increased bandwidth to assist low-income Americans in civil issue areas like housing, family, employment and income maintenance, consumer debt, and natural disaster recovery.
This grant will allow LSV to increase its volunteer base and enhance the pro bono culture in Vermont by leveraging the state’s first-year attorney licensing requirements. Newly licensed attorneys can work towards fulfilling their requisite 40 hours of experiential learning through participation in LSV’s pro bono program. LSV will coordinate with the Vermont State Bar and the court’s attorney licensing office to promote this pro bono engagement and related trainings for newly licensed attorneys.
“LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund supports grantees’ tireless efforts to expand access to legal services,” said LSC President Ron Flagg. “Pro bono volunteers are an invaluable resource for the millions of low-income Americans in need of legal aid.”
LSC is awarding these grants from its Pro Bono Innovation Fund (PBIF) included in its FY 2023 congressional appropriation. Since the inception of PBIF in 2014, LSC has awarded 139 grants totaling more than $40 million. Each organization’s project involves creating solutions to persistent challenges in pro bono delivery systems or exploring new ways to implement pro bono services to reach low-income Americans with legal needs. The funds are directed to grantee projects that are replicable and scalable, and which focus on critical, unmet need.
Representative Becca Balint (VT) congratulated LSV on receiving the grant for pro bono services. “Quality legal services should be accessible no matter your income,” said Rep. Balint. “This grant will ignite Vermont’s existing volunteer culture and help get Vermonters the legal services they need. I’m excited to see grants like these working to chip away at the justice gap.”
Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 131 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
Legal Services Vermont is a nonprofit legal services law firm based in Burlington — serving all of Vermont. Legal Services Vermont offers a wide range of civil (not criminal) legal services for low-income Vermonters for free.