Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The experience of GILS-GLSP demonstrates that the extensive investment of time necessary to involve the organized bar in the legal services effort can make a vital contribution to the development of a stable, professional, statewide, legal services program. Bar support eases access to the political process, improves community relations, and facilitates program funding. Furthermore, bar support helps reduce the political strife that has heretofore plagued legal services programs. The rewards of such an approach can be great. Adequate funding obtained with active bar support has enabled GILS-GLSP to provide increasingly comprehensive legal services to indigent clients. From a modest budget of 216,000 dollars in 1970-71, the funds available to GILS-GLSP grew to 1,200,000 dollars in 1973-74. State bar leaders have persuaded the Georgia State Legislature to appropriate ever increasing amounts as a local matching share for GILS-GLSP, and at this writing the projected budget for GILS is 1,500,000 dollars for the program in 1974-75. Of equal importance, confidence in continued bar support has permitted the program to deemphasize such traditional legal aid areas as domestic relations and become more effective to the indigent client community by moving heavily into fields such as housing, consumer protection, and welfare rights." By the end of 1973, GILS-GLSP had forty-one full-time staff attorneys providing these comprehensive legal services throughout Georgia. Because the proposed Federal Legal Services Corporation Act mandates greater state bar participation in the formulation and management of legal services programs, the example of GILS-GLSP should give all legal services advocates greater confidence that bar participation can assist in building a strong legal services program. While the yellow brick road of bar support may contain some pitfalls, the potential results of comprehensive legal services to the indigent of our nation justifies the effort.