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Remembering Edward V. Sparer

An Enduring Vision for Legal Services

By Gary F. Smith

The twentieth anniversary of the death of Edward V. Sparer, one of the architects of the national legal services movement, is cause for poverty lawyers to take pause and take stock of their work. Sparer helped inspire a generation of lawyers when legal services programs were part of the Office of Economic Opportunity. As one of the early directors of what was then the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law, he helped shape targeted litigation that promotedthe constitutional rights of the poor. Sparer's work remains an important example for legal aid lawyers who are fighting poverty in its twenty-first century form.

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