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The 90th Anniversary of
Atlanta Legal Aid Society began as the dream of a young lawyer named E. Smythe Gambrell. Having worked with the Legal Aid Bureau as a student at Harvard Law School, Mr. Gambrell came home to Atlanta with the idea that he could found an organization that would help returning World War I veterans victimized by salary buying/payday lending scams and desperate women with family issues. Sixteen of Mr. Gambrell's fellow Atlanta Bar Association members signed on with him and, with a donation from the Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Legal Aid Society was born.
Throughout the ensuing 90 years, Legal Aid grew, always on the cutting edge in the practice of poverty law. During the 1940s and ‘50s, Legal Aid had two female executive directors in a time when few women were practicing law. In the 1960s and ‘70s, Legal Aid literally changed the landscape for low-income people with vigorous and innovative advocacy that changed laws and empowered clients as the program expanded into all of Fulton, Clayton, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Cobb counties. The 1980s and ‘90s brought a new sophistication, with diversification of funding and development of special projects serving particularly vulnerable populations. The 2000s have continued the trend, incorporating new styles of pro bono work and volunteerism into the program's operations.
The single thread that has remained constant throughout those 90 years is the support of the legal community. Lawyers built Legal Aid, sustained Legal Aid and continue to provide the rich soil in which the program flourishes today, across five counties and even statewide, serving nearly 25,000 clients each year.
Together, we can!
Run For Justice November 8, 2014
The Atlanta Legal Aid Society will hold its 22nd Run for Justice in Oakhurst on November 8th, 2014. The event will benefit the general operating fund of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. Participants in the Run for Justice will enjoy a beautiful a 5-k course beginning and ending at One Step at A Time, 650 East Lake Drive, Decatur, GA 30030. Others can enjoy the crisp autumn day with the 5k walk, great for families and children. Jogging strollers, kids and pets are welcome! Awards will be presented to the top 5-k finishers and teams in a variety of categories, including pets, children and strollers. Families, corporate, church, school and community teams are welcome. We always need volunteers, too!
Partially Funded By:
COMING OCTOBER 9
Legal Services Corporation
Legal Services Corporation is 40 years old this year; its creation was one of the last acts of the Nixon administration. LSC is the largest single funder of civil legal aid in the country, distributing federal funds through competitive grants to 134 independent nonprofit organizations with nearly 800 offices in every state, the District of Columbia and the territories of the United States. LSC makes access to justice a reality for low-income people, a goal which has bipartisan support. Support for efforts to defund LSC has waned over the years, and speakers as diverse as Justice Antonin Scalia and Vice President Joe Biden spoke during a three-day conference celebrating the anniversary and planning for the future.
"Every day, low-income Americans seek help from LSC-funded organizations with civil legal matters that go to the very heart of their safety and security, " said Phyllis Holmen, Executive Director of Georgia Legal Services Corporation. "Support for our mission is widespread, from leaders in the halls of government, to judges across the state, to lawyers who understand that our work is vital to the stability of our democracy."
“The Legal Services Corporation is using this milestone anniversary to focus attention on the gravity of the challenges facing civil legal aid in America, to better educate ourselves about what is occurring and what is at stake, and to consider the best ways forward,” said LSC Board Chairman John G. Levi.
Atlanta Legal Aid's Executive Director Steve Gottlieb was invited to participate in a discussion of diversifying legal aid funding. Our Board member and former client Harold Anderson was also invited to speak on how his life was changed with assistance from Atlanta Legal Aid, which receives almost 40% of its funding from LSC.