Across the country, legal services attorneys play a largely hidden but essential role as first responders to American poverty. The family facing foreclosure after falling behind on the mortgage when both Mom and Dad lost their jobs in the recession. The mother of three, fleeing domestic abuse, who desperately needs a protective order to keep herself and her children safe. The woman with stage four cancer and six months to live, who has been wrongfully denied Social Security and Medicare. Without legal services, they would have nowhere to turn.
Day in and day out, legal services attorneys fight for the rights of poor individuals and families, providing legal help to people who cannot afford an attorney. Access to representation is vitally important. But as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, it’s time to renew the vision of legal services as antipoverty work.