Legal Services Corporation (LSC)

In 1974, Congress passed and the President signed the Legal Services Corporation Act, the comprehensive legislation to make permanent the legal services program started under the Economic Opportunity Act. The LSC Act was reauthorized in 1977, but has not been reauthorized since.

For more detailed information about LSC, including comprehensive annual reports, budget requests to Congress, detailed fact books, regulations, laws and other critical information see www.lsc.gov.

LSC structure

LSC is not a federal agency, nor a government controlled corporation, but a nonprofit corporation established with the powers of a District of Columbia corporation and those provided by the LSC Act. The President of the United States appoints a bipartisan eleven-member board that must be confirmed by the Senate. Board members serve in a volunteer capacity, are not Executive branch employees and, under the LSC Act, cannot be fired by the President. Board members serve for three-year terms but hold over at the conclusion of their terms until new board members are qualified, i.e. confirmed by the Senate. The Chair of the board is chosen by the board, not by the President. The LSC board also appoints a president for LSC as well as certain key officers of the Corporation who serve at the pleasure of the board. The LSC president appoints the remaining members of the LSC staff. The LSC president and staff are not federal employees.

Unlike many federal agencies or government corporations, the LSC president administers the Corporation, making all grants and contracts. The LSC board does provide general oversight of LSC, makes broad policies, and promulgates the rules, regulations and guidelines governing LSC and the legal services grantees it funds. The board also submits its budget mark directly to Congress. The board generally meets at least four times a year for two days, with additional conference call meetings in between.

LSC grantees

LSC funds 133 grantees that operate local, regional or statewide civil legal assistance programs with 813 offices throughout the country. Generally, one field program provides legal services in a designated geographic area. In addition, LSC, with Congressional approval, has earmarked funds for migrant and Native American grants for specialized programs that deliver services to these populations. All legal services programs are private, nonprofit entities, independent of LSC. All LSC grantees are governed by boards which consist of 60% attorneys and one-third eligible clients. By LSC regulation, all programs must expend 12.5% of their basic LSC grant on the involvement of private attorneys in the delivery of legal services.