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The latest news about poverty in the wealthiest nation in the world is deeply disturbing. According to various reports, this year the United States will see the highest incidence of poverty since 1965. That shocking statistic, coupled with the devastating downturn in funding and staffing for the programs supported by the Legal Services Corp. (LSC), signals the worst access to justice crisis in our history at a time when the courts, also facing funding cuts and severe resource limitations, are ill equipped to handle a tidal wave of unrepresented litigants. The LSC reported last week that the civil legal assistance organizations it funds expect to be forced to lay off about 8 percent of their lawyers and support staff this year.

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