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Badge of honor: The winner of our Legal Aid Defender contest is …


In March, we challenged law schools across the country to join us in defending Legal Services Corporation, the single largest funder of legal aid for people who cannot afford a lawyer. While the fight to save LSC may not be over, our contest is. And our winners wear maroon.

Yes, the University of Chicago Law School led with the most law students participating. All told, 1,450 individual law students signed up, accounting for about 4,300 of the personalized Legal Aid Defender cards that were delivered to members of Congress.

Jared Hess, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for the ABA, had one word to sum up the campaign: “Impressive!”

Here are the top schools:

Rank Law School
1 University of Chicago Law School
2 Georgetown University Law Center
3 University of Texas School of Law
4 Baylor University School of Law
5 Mitchell Hamline School of Law
6 University of Wisconsin Law School
7 Harvard Law School
8 Florida State University College of Law
9 University of Minnesota Law School
10 George Washington University Law School
Vermont Law School
University of Denver-Sturm College of Law
13 University of Southern California – Gould School of Law
St. Mary’s University School of Law
15 Western Michigan Cooley Law School

The SBA and ABA reps of the “winning” school will also be invited to ABA Day in Washington 2018 (travel and hotel paid) where they will join their states in meetings on Capitol Hill with Members of Congress and congressional staff.

Update on LSC

Those who entered the campaign received this message earlier this week. So if you weren’t part of the initial push, here’s what the message said:

“As promised, your personalized Legal Aid Defender cards were hand-delivered to your Members of Congress last week. Your message, along with nearly 20,000 others, had an immediate impact on the fight to preserve funding for the Legal Services Corporation. Legal aid advocates who delivered your cards witnessed thousands of messages being read in congressional offices and reported that many Members of Congress personally looked through every single card from their constituents.

“We are happy to report that the FY 2017 spending bill passed by Congress this week did not eliminate one cent from current Legal Services Corporation funding. However, the big fight is yet to come. Over the next few months Congress will be working on the 2018 budget – the same budget that the President targeted for eliminating funding for legal services. As that fight heats up we will keep you informed about additional opportunities to show Congress that you and thousands of other Legal Aid Defenders around the country will continue to fight for legal aid. Thank you for standing up for LSC to ensure that all Americans have equal access to justice.”

You can still enlist as a Legal Aid Defender and get updates on the fight to fund Legal Services Corporation at

ABA Law Student Division The Law Student Division empowers law student by providing them with meaningful connections to practicing professionals, job resources, relevant programming, and practical skills competitions. We represent the law student community by advocating for policies that improve legal education, champion diversity, and strengthen public service.