Blue Ridge Legal Services director to participate in White House forum on legal aid

Blue Ridge Legal Services Executive Director John Whitfield is one of six legal services program directors selected to participate in a White House forum examining the state of civil legal assistance for low-income Americans.

The forum, co-hosted by the Legal Services Corporation, will take place on Tuesday, April 17.

Other speakers will include: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; Deputy Chief of Staff to the President Mark Childress; former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh; U.S. Department of State Legal Advisor Harold Hongju Koh; Department of Veterans Affairs General Counsel Will A. Gunn; White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler; Justice Jess H. Dickinson of the Mississippi Supreme Court; Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan; American Bar Association President William T. Robinson; LSC Board Chairman John G. Levi and Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow, who is also vice chair of the LSC board.

“Blue Ridge exemplifies the value of strong partnerships between legal services programs and the private bar,” said LSC President James J. Sandman, who will moderate a panel of directors from LSC-funded programs. “Their 30-year collaboration with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Bar Association, through which 85 percent of the Association’s members handle pro bono cases, is a model for other legal aid programs that serve both small cities and rural areas.”

Whitfield is one of six directors chosen from among the 135 organizations nationally that receive federal funding through LSC.  In addition to Virginia, other states to be represented on the panel are Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, Montana, and Washington.


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