High-Profile Leaders Council to Spotlight Legal Aid Crisis

May 20, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is forming a new Leaders Council to raise public awareness of the current crisis in legal aid.

The Leaders Council will consist of high-profile and influential leaders from various industries. They include public figures such as former Major League Baseball player Henry "Hank" Aaron, author John Grisham, University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Viacom Vice Chair Shari Redstone, and Microsoft Corporation President and CEO Brad Smith. A full list of the more than 40 notable individuals joining the Leaders Council is available online at https://lsc40.lsc.gov/leaders-council/.

Kenneth C. Frazier, CEO of pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., and Harriet Miers, a partner at Locke Lord and former White House Counsel to President George W. Bush, will serve as co-chairs of the Leaders Council.

LSC Chairman John G. Levi said the organization will benefit from the strategic thinking, innovative ideas, and leadership of council members.

“We are thrilled that these distinguished Americans recognize the crisis that exists in the accessibility of our civil justice system for low-income Americans and through the Council want to be better informed and in their own ways help LSC narrow our country’s ‘justice gap,’” Levi stated.

Currently legal aid groups are forced to turn away at least 50 percent of people seeking help. Millions of Americans are unable to obtain legal assistance when it comes to critical civil matters, from evictions to child custody cases.

“Continued progress in expanding meaningful access to our justice system for low-income individuals and families is essential to fulfilling America’s promise of ‘justice for all,’” Miers explained. “The strength of our country’s justice system and our people’s faith in that system requires progress.”

The founding principle of LSC is that supporting civil legal aid is critical to ensuring equal access to justice. By working with leaders from the private sector, LSC hopes to spread this message to an audience beyond the legal aid community. The Leaders Council will also support private fundraising and bring greater attention to the work of LSC.

LSC has long worked to engage the expertise of leaders beyond the legal aid field to advance its mission. The voices and leadership of the Leaders Council will help expand LSC’s reach to new communities, drawing national attention to the need to support civil legal aid. 

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 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.