April 27, 2017 – Attorneys from across the country attended the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Lobby Day this week. The annual event gives lawyers an opportunity to lobby their members of Congress on important legal issues. The State Bar of Wisconsin’s representatives included President Fran Deisinger, President-elect Paul Swanson, Madison attorney and ABA Treasurer-elect Michelle Behnke and Public Affairs Director Lisa Roys.
The group focused on advocating for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and its need for continued funding. Recently, President Trump introduced his budget proposal and it eliminated funding for the LSC.
The American Bar Association (ABA) started a campaign to support legal aid programs, including support for LSC funding. Participants registered to become a “Legal Aid Defender” and entered a short message for their representatives in Congress. The ABA collected about 20,000 entries which were hand delivered to the appropriate members of Congress throughout the week.
There are two Wisconsin organizations, Legal Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Judicare, that would be significantly impacted if the proposal to eliminate funding for the LSC is adopted. Together, the two organizations serve almost 10,000 low-income residents in Wisconsin each year.
The State Bar contingent met with both Wisconsin senators and members of the congressional delegation. They reported positive meetings and are encouraged by the conversations they had with members of Congress.
In addition to LSC funding, the group followed-up on last year’s discussions on criminal justice reform and other federal issues of importance.