As Hillary Clinton fights off Bernie Sanders for another shot at becoming President of the United States, we cast an eye back to this article in The Lawyer from August 1996, when she was First Lady.
At the time Clinton was an unpopular figure in the US due to the Travelgate and Whitewater controversies in which she was implicated. However, she received a warm welcome from American Bar Association lawyers at its Florida convention, where she spoke on the subject of access to justice and recalled her first job after leaving law school: setting up and running a legal aid clinic.
“No experience was more important to me than my time as a legal aid lawyer,” Clinton said.
“All of us who are lawyers need to speak more often about what it means to be a lawyer and what it would mean to our profession if we didn’t have lawyers who were prepared to work full-time as legal aid lawyers so that people of all incomes and from all levels of society can have access to justice.”
At the time, the Republican party was looking to cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation – the only body in the US which ensured free access to justice for the poor. Funding was eventually cut from about $400m to $278m.
In Britain, cuts to the legal aid budget over the last five years have led to lawyers that work in this area going out of business, strikes, and an increase in students filling the legal aid gapThe Lawyer
The full article is below.