One of the bedrock principles of American society is that all peopleâ€”whether rich or poorâ€”are entitled to justice. As a nation, justice is the tie that binds us.
Yet for a variety of complex and interrelated reasons, our justice system is in crisis: legal aid and public defender programs are severely underfunded; attorney caseloads are overwhelming; people are turned away without representation. The evidence of this crisis abounds.
The Legal Services Corporation estimated that in 2009 it was unable to serve almost one million people who sought assistance. At the height of our nationâ€™s economic downturnâ€”with poverty at an historic high and evictions, unemployment and foreclosures at epidemic levels, for every person that was served by a legal services program, one eligible person was turned away.