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About This Issue

By Ilze Sprudzs Hirsh

Fifty years after Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty, people ask if the war was successful. Although some may not recognize that this war was not allowed to take its full course, analysts abound to give answers. The May–June 2006 Clearinghouse Review had asked what the federal government must do to end poverty. Instead of lamenting the weaknesses of the war on poverty, which the authors noted was cut short, several authors called on us instead to celebrate the era’s successes: the assistance offered by social security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and other programs, and the protection given by the enacted law, namely, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Still they cautioned, as do many advocates today, that much work remains to be done, in particular the distance that must be traveled to reach racial justice. And so the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law commemorates the start of this critical good work and leads in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty.

Since 1967, Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, one of the Shriver Center’s communication programs, has been the legal aid community’s key resource for both best practices and cutting-edge approaches to legal advocacy on behalf of low-income people. The Review is built on the long-standing commitment of advocates to share their work with one another. Their knowledge and strategies are in the Review’s searchable database of articles since 1967. We invite you to continue sharing knowledge, best practices, and innovative strategies through our newly digital Review and other communication programs.

With this January–February 2014 Review we introduce a redesigned and enhanced digital edition; it is mobile and tablet-friendly. Try it and let us know what you think. The next issues will each focus on a theme: education; disability; consumer rights; affirmative advocacy; fair taxes and state budgets. Each issue will have an article or two on a timely topic unrelated to the theme.

In this issue the lead article discusses key federal and state laws for helping workers keep their jobs when they need leave to care for their own illness or injury or to tend to a sick family member. The Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act are among the laws advocates should know, says Brendan Lynch, the author. You are invited to meet Brendan Lynch, our guest author at this issue’s online discussion forum on “Job Preservation for Workers Who Need Sick Leave.” Ask about the article or about applying one of the laws or a similar state law, get to know other advocates, and learn from one another. Michele Host, senior attorney editor, will moderate the discussion beginning February 11. To learn more, go to

Other articles in this issue discuss how to provide respectful and competent services to low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients; how your organization can influence federal policy by getting involved in the rulemaking process; and how advocates can push back crime-free rental housing and nuisance-property ordinances. One article focuses on the case for prison phone justice reform, and another examines an advocate’s ethical quandaries when representing a low-income client against another low-income person who is unrepresented. Experience how the collective wisdom of the leading thinkers in the legal aid community can improve your practice. Share your thoughts with us. Contact us at

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