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Statewide bar groups back legal aid funding

Seven statewide bar associations in Virginia have jointly signaled their opposition to a Trump administration proposal to drop funding for legal aid programs.

The Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Bar Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, the Old Dominion Bar Association, the Virginian Women Attorneys Association, and the Hispanic Bar Association signed a statement saying they “stand united in strong opposition” to proposed elimination of federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation.

“LSC provides civil legal aid to millions of Americans and more than one million Virginians qualify for its services,” the statement read.

Legal aid lawyers and private volunteers provide vital services, the statement continued.

“Examples of their work include services for victims and survivors of domestic violence; veterans, who often find themselves struggling with economic and mental health issues after returning home from combat; people displaced by disasters; the elderly; and people with disabilities who are too often financially exploited and abused,” the statement said.

The bar groups called on Virginia members of Congress to reject any proposal to eliminate or significantly reduce legal aid funding.