In an Apr. 4 op-ed published in The Boston Globe’s Opinion Blog “The Angle,” Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and co-author John Broderick (Dean and President of the University of New Hampshire School of Law) address impending Congressional budget cuts that would force programs that provide pro bono legal aid to close their doors.

The cuts would greatly affect the federally-funded Legal Services Corporation (LSC), founded in 1974 with the mission of providing legal access for those unable to afford adequate representation. According to the authors: “Such cuts abandon some of the most vulnerable people in our nation and in addition risk creating new burdens not only for them but also for their communities and public budgets, as an evicted person becomes homeless, an abused person lands in a hospital, and a veteran fails to re-enter the workforce and community life.”

Minow, who is also the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law at HLS, was appointed dean in 2009, and has taught at the school since 1981. An expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities, she also writes and teaches about privatization, military justice, and ethnic and religious conflict. Broderick became the fifth Dean and President of the University of New Hampshire School of Law in Jan. 2011.  He served on the Board of the LSC for 10 years, after his appointment by President Clinton.

Budget cuts threaten justice

by John Broderick and Martha Minow

“Equal Justice Under Law” is engraved on the front of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., but it is in severe jeopardy as the Congress threatens to drastically cut funding for civil legal assistance — legal help for poor people facing eviction and foreclosure, domestic violence and child custody, bankruptcy and consumer fraud, disability benefits and veterans services. Today as the House of Representatives calls for cutting $70 million from the Congressional grants of $284.4 million for civil legal assistance, many of the 900 programs helped by the federally-funded Legal Services Corporation will need to close — 370 staff attorneys will be let go and 162,000 fewer people will be served — just as the recession pushes the highest number of Americans into poverty in 51 years. … Read the full post on »