The need for legal services for low-income Americans now stands at an all-time high. Approximately 65 million people – 21 percent of the population – are financially eligible for assistance at legal aid programs funded by the Legal Services
Corporation. That is a 30 percent increase over 2007, the last year before the recession began.
But funding for legal aid has remained stagnant in absolute dollars since 2007 and has declined in inflation-adjusted dollars. The best measure of funding over time is inflation-adjusted dollars spent per eligible person, and by that measure, LSC funding
is today at an all-time low. State funding varies widely across the country, and many alternative sources of revenue, such as foundation grants, have significant limitations on their use.