ABA Day 2018: Recap
This month, I led a New Hampshire Bar Association delegation as part of ABA Day 2018. Each year, the American Bar Association invites bar leaders from all states to come and meet with their congressional delegations to advocate for ABA legislative priorities. I've served on the ABA Day Planning Committee for the last 3-4 years and attended on behalf of New Hampshire for the last 20 years.
The top priority of this meeting every year is adequate funding for The Legal Services Corporation that provides 93.7% of its federal funding to legal service providers for civil legal representation of those below 125% of the Federal Poverty Line. This service is available in every county in every state, but the program is woefully underfunded. With all resources including grants and pro bono hours, only about 15-20% of the need is actually met. In NH, more than ½ of the persons who applied were unable to actually receive service.
On April 11, 2018, as State Captain, along with members of the New Hampshire delegation, I visited each of our senator’s and congresswomen’s offices. Our priorities were to increase funding for civil legal service in the face of a budget that sought to eliminate the program. The second priority was to oppose the repeal of legislation that provides for federal loan forgiveness for lawyers who dedicate ten years of public service such as working as a prosecutor, public defender, military JAG counsel, civil legal aid lawyer and the like. Many are only a few years away from qualifying for this benefit and the legislation, buried in the omnibus education bill, would pull the rug out from under these folks and break the promise under which they have been working for years.
Click the link for a nation-wide ABA Day 2018 recap.