1981-1996: Struggle for Survival

Although in most parts of the country legal services had come to be respected and accepted as an institutional presence, the expansion of the program into previously unserved areas was sometimes still met with suspicion on the part of the local bar, local politicians, and business and community leaders, who feared that the business environment and social order that they had come to expect would be upset by the new breed of lawyers whose role was to assist the poor to assert their rights. Many of the issues that had led to controversies a decade earlier in areas served by OEO legal services arose again in newly served areas. These issues, particularly the representation of migrant farmworkers and immigrants, came to the attention of Members of Congress elected from those areas. As a result, Congressional scrutiny of the legal services program and concerns about its advocacy began to increase.

Related oral histories

Askew, Hulett “Bucky” — Interview by Victor Geminiani, 1991 Jul 22 LSC
Directed the southern regional office in Atlanta, then deputy director of an LSC office in Washington, DC.

Houseman, Alan — Interview by Linda Perle, 2018 Jan 22 LA/LSC
General Counsel for LSC legal aid programs. Lobbyist to preserve LSC.

Bergmark, Martha — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2015 May 15 LSC
Head of the project advisory group. VP of NLADA. VP of lsc. P of lsc.

Eakeley, Douglas — Interview by Victor Geminiani, 1994 Feb 12 LSC
Chair of LSC board during President Clinton’s administration.

Forger, Alexander — Interview by Martha Bergmark, 2002 Sep 12
President of LSC during during President Clinton’s administration.

Battle, LaVeeda — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2016 May 12 LSC
LSC board member.

Brooks, Terry — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2016 Nov 09
Staff director of the legal services division of ABA. Key player during the period for the ABA, which played a key role in preserving LSC.

Clark, Julie — Interview by Don Saunders, 2002 Oct 02
Director of govt relations at NLADA. Head lobbyist for NLADA starting in 1981 and through this period.

Clinton, Hillary – Interview by Victor Geminiani, 1991 Jul 21 LSC
Second board chair of LSC.

Dana, Howard — Interview by Don Saunders, 2002 Aug 06
Key member of LSC board.

Erlenborn, John — Interview by Don Saunders, 2002 Jul 30
Key member of Congress. Later became chair of LSC board.

Groudine, Bev – Interview by Alan Houseman, 2018 May 10 ABA

Lyons, Clinton “Clint” — Interview by Victor Geminiani, 1991 Jul 23 LSC
Was acting president of LSC. Became President of NLADA.

Shestack, Jerome — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2002 Aug 08
Became president of ABA during the period.

Singsen III, Antoine G. — Interview by Victor Geminiani, 1991 Nov 01
LSC staff insider and consultant.

Smegal, Thomas — Interview by Linda Perle, 2002 Sep
Key LSC board member.

Smith, William Reece — Interview by Robert Rhudy, 2002 Aug 09
President of ABA. Led the effort to preserve LSC during the early Reagan Administration.

Tull, John — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2016 Nov 10

Whitehurst, William — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2015 May 07
Founder of Bar Leaders for the Preservation of Legal Services.