Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty. The Legal Services Program of 1965, along with the Legal Services Corporation formed in 1974, considerably increased civil legal aid to America’s poor. Yet today, there is only one legal aid attorney for every 6,415 people living in poverty. Veterans, comprising 4.6% of those living in poverty, often suffer additional obstacles and extensive legal needs, including assistance in obtaining benefits to which they are entitled. While encouraging additional pro bono service among attorneys incrementally increases the availability of legal services to the poor, law school clinics across the country enroll students eager to address the legal needs of the poor. A concerted effort by law schools and higher education institutions to provide legal services to veterans in particular will foster a greater sense of social responsibility towards the men and women who served our country and will make significant strides toward equal access to justice for our nation’s underserved poor.
Patricia E. Roberts,
From the “War on Poverty” to Pro Bono: Access to Justice Remains Elusive for Too Many, Including Our Veterans,
B.C.J.L. & Soc. Just.