Senior positions with OEO Legal Services, LSC, NLADA. Later on LSC Board for nine years.
Oral history details
|Storyteller:||Hulett "Bucky" Askew|
|Date of interview:||Jul 22, 1991|
|Where relates to:||Georgia and National|
|Topics:||LSC: General and OEO Legal Services|
|Georgetown Law Library link (possible video):||http://hdl.handle.net/10822/709335|
Full text of transcriptDownload PDF: Transcript
In the interview, Hulett “Bucky” Askew recalls how he first got involved with legal services during law school at Emory in Atlanta, Georgia, when he worked in the Atlanta Legal Aid Office as part of his requirements for graduation. He discusses how he went to Washington, DC, to work for the OEO Legal Services Program in early 1969 as the Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Health Affairs, which he called the “most formative and critical experience” of his life. He became friends with Dan Bradley, who had just completed the Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer program. Dan Bradley encouraged Mr. Askew to return to Atlanta with him. Mr. Askew discusses his work as Deputy Regional Director of OEO Legal Services in Atlanta, and as the first Regional Director for the Atlanta region at LSC and later Deputy Director of Field Services.
National Equal Justice Library
Oral History Collection
Interview with Hulett Askew (HA)
Conducted by Victor Geminiani (VG)
July 22, 1991
Victor Geminiani: This is an oral history of Hulett Askew, July 22, 1991. The subject of the interview will be Mr. Askew’s experience in both OEO and Legal Services Corporation over the years. Good morning.
Hulett Askew: Good morning.
Victor Geminiani: Thank you for agreeing to share your experiences with us and your thoughts on legal services delivery. You’ve been intimately involved in the delivery of legal services for virtually your entire career. We very much appreciate your making the opportunity available for us to talk with you. Can you tell me a little bit your background prior to becoming involved in legal services.
Hulett Askew: Yeah. I was born and raised in Atlanta. Attended the University of North Carolina, went to Emory Law School in Atlanta and finished in 1967. My first connection with legal services was during law school because Emory Law School at that time had a requirement that every student had to do 20 hours of legal aid work before graduation. It’s a policy unfortunately they abandoned in the early 70s but all of us who went through Emory Law School in the 60s worked at Atlanta Legal Aid at the downtown office. That was before Atlanta Legal Aid had OEO funding. It was a small, five-attorney, as I remember it, program but it was a wonderful experience for me and I think for all of my classmates because it exposed us to work and to clients that we otherwise would not have seen and just recently I met with a number of my classmates who have now asked Emory to reinstitute that policy because we thought it had such a dramatic effect on us. The current president of the state bar was a classmate of mine, the president of the Atlanta City Council, Marvin Arrington was a classmate of mine, Clarence Cooper, the first black judge on the court of appeals was a classmate of mine. The president of the Jacksonville City Council was a classmate of mine. I think it instilled a sense of public service in us that we might not have otherwise had. After law school I went to work for a law firm in Atlanta and worked there for two years. That was 1967-68. 1968 was a critical year for the country and for me because it was the year that Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated and I think those two events helped me realize that I wanted to do something more with my life than practice in a private law firm in Atlanta, Georgia and I decided in late 1968 that I wanted to go to Washington to work if I could. And fortunately for me I had a law school classmate who had gone to work for OEO straight out of law school and he was a physician who was also a lawyer and he had been named the director of OEO’s health programs. So I contacted him, told him I would like to work in Washington, like to work for OEO if I could. He called me back three weeks later and said if you move up here in about a week you can come to work for me because my special assistant is leaving. So within about a week I made the decision to leave and move to Washington, which was a very radical act for someone who had grown up in Atlanta and saw a situation I had to leave and move to Washington. I don’t think my family to this day understands exactly why I did that. But I went to Washington in early 1969 to work for OEO for the health affairs office of OEO. And it was the most formative and critical experience of my life. It really, I was single at the time, I became totally immersed in the work of OEO and something that was incredibly rewarding and mind-expanding for me and as a result of that working there on the 6th floor of OEO the other people on the 6th floor were the Legal Services Office of OEO and because I was about the only lawyer working in health affairs I came to know the people in the legal service office quite well, Mickey Cantor, Frank Dugan, Terry Lenzner, Mafayo Falco, the people who were the early about the second staff that had come to the legal services office after Clinton Bamberger had left. And after I had been in Washington for two years, or about a year and a half I met Dan Bradley through Terry Lenzner. And we became friends.
Victor Geminiani: Dan Bradley was working for the Legal Services Corporation at that point?
Hulett Askew: Dan Bradley was at that time was the regional director for the OEO Legal Services Program in Atlanta. He had just left the Reggie program, he had been the director in 1969 and had taken over the southern office of OEO Legal Services in Atlanta but was doing a lot of other things for Terry Lenzner. He was so skilled I think and so experienced that Lenzner used him to do all kinds of things and so he was constantly in Washington on one task or another. Through that I got to know him. And Lenzner at one point asked me if I would be interested in working for OEO Legal Services and I told eventually I would. He then put me in touch with Bradley and Bradley was looking for a deputy regional director in Atlanta and back then the Nixon administration was in, OEO was in some trouble nationally. There was a political freeze basically on hiring people for OEO. Anybody that wanted to be hired that the agency wanted to hire had to go through a political clearance process. And Dan found it very difficult to hire anyone to work for him because he couldn’t get them cleared through the White House or through the congressional office that would have to review people. Since I was already working at OEO I already had that clearance or I had gotten there before this process was put in effect. So I think as a matter of convenience and also because we hit it off personally Dan offered me the position of deputy regional director in Atlanta of OEO Legal Services.
Victor Geminiani: How many staff members were in the office when you first arrived in OEO Legal Services in Atlanta?
Hulett Askew: There was one. There was Dan Bradley. And there was a secretary.
Victor Geminiani: You had the very important title of deputy director.
Hulett Askew: I had deputy director of a two-person staff. So it sounded impressive.
Victor Geminiani: What year was this?
Hulett Askew: This was 1971. I worked for OEO in Washington for ’69 and most of ’70 and then I moved back to Atlanta to work in the regional office with him either the end of ’70 or early ’71.
Victor Geminiani: Do you remember some of the issues you dealt with in those early days of OEO original Legal Services in Atlanta?
Hulett Askew: Yes. In those days I think the total funding for legal services nationally was $68-70 million dollars. The money had been dispersed by OEO starting in 1965 on a sort of first come first served basis. They were not thoughtful about how the dispersed money as we became at the Corporation most of the money went to the northeast, went out west, it went to those cities and to the cap agencies at that time who were open to the idea of legal services interested in legal services.
Victor Geminiani: It also went to primarily existing legal aid programs.
Hulett Askew: Existing legal aid programs that’s right.
Victor Geminiani: Atlanta at that point was an existing legal aid program.
Hulett Askew: That’s right. And as a result the south was grossly under-funded because southern communities were hostile to legal services, cap agencies were not aggressive in seeking the funds that OEO made available. There were not a lot of existing legal aid programs around the south that applied for money back in the mid 60s, so when I moved to Atlanta I think there were probably about 20 programs 25 programs at most in the southern states funded for around $7 million out of the total of $70 million available in the Untied States for legal services. Most of those programs, there were exceptions obviously but most of those programs were very small funded at $150,000 to $300,000, had four or five staff attorneys, many of them were run by older men mostly who had been recruited by the bar association to be the legal aid director, people who at the end of their careers or people that the bar tended to trust with this responsibility. And they were I guess you could describe sleepy little legal aid programs. Very decent people mostly but doing mostly domestic work, landlord/tenant work and handling usually fairly large caseloads nothing of a dramatic nature. The exceptions obviously were Atlanta Legal Aid which was a very good, very aggressive program. There were some others around the south like that but to a large degree they were mostly small under-funded and not very aggressive programs. From the period I was in Atlanta with Dan from ’71 to ’75 before the Corporation started, mostly what he was engaged in doing and I became engaged in doing is trying to change those programs into something more than just a service oriented legal aid program.
Victor Geminiani: Must have been difficult during the period of time when no money was coming in, no new money coming in from the government.
Hulett Askew: It was extremely difficult because we have no incentives in terms of money. There was no fund raising going on by these programs. A few of them had Community Chest United Way even HUD block grant money, Title III money but mostly they were totally dependent upon funding from OEO. And that funding was very limited and very small so you didn’t have much in the way of tools to work with in terms of changing these programs. And that is what made Dan to me so remarkable in the sense that without having the sort of tools we had at the Corporation to effect change he was able to effect change in an awful lot of these programs around the south. He was also engaged in putting out a lot of fires. Where programs were aggressive like Atlanta Legal Aid or Florida Rural Legal Services at the time or the new program in Jackson, Mississippi that were taking on more creative sorts of litigation and challenging the power structures in those communities. There was an immediate reaction usually from the bar association or from the political powers that be in those communities and Dan did an awful lot of flying around trying to put out those fires, helping the programs weather those storms. There were governors’ vetoes back then that OEO was required to give the governor of every state the right to veto a grant and any time a program stepped out of line or did something that the local community was unhappy about they could go to the governor and ask the governor to veto the grant to that program. And southern governors back then were quite willing to do so. And there were a number of occasions where Dan had to go meet the governors to convince them not to veto the grant or to work out some compromise so that the program could survive.
Victor Geminiani: This was also a period of time during which the president of the United States, Richard Nixon, had a philosophy of eliminating Legal Services and limiting OEO as to a program. Of course during that period it was under his direct authority under the presidential authority. What was it like to work in OEO Legal Services at a time when the administration wished to eliminate the position and the activities that you were involved in?
Hulett Askew: Well it was quite an amazing experience in many ways and in fact it probably helped prepare me and probably some other people for what we went through in the 80s. Within a couple of months after I took the job with Dan and moved to Atlanta the president or the director of OEO fired Terry Lenzner and Frank Jones and there was a big national brouhaha about that and he fired him over some incidents in several programs including the New Orleans program where the director of OEO instructed Lenzner to go in and stop what the program was doing and it was representing public housing tenants and doing some very aggressive litigation and Lenzner refused to do what the director of OEO instructed him to do and the director fired him and called in Frank Jones who was the deputy director at that point of Legal Services and fired him and this was soon after I moved to Atlanta. So at the point I thought everything was coming to an end and it didn’t. Eventually what the president did was appoint a man named Howard Phillips to be the director of OEO and Howard Phillips had been up to that time the most vocal critic of OEO generally of Legal Services specifically in the country. He ran a thing I think called the Conservative Caucus and was very outspoken about Legal Services and of course distorted the record quite a bit and would find any occasion he could to pick a law suit, pick an issue and try to publicize it nationally of what he considered to be irresponsible or crazy things that legal services programs were doing. Well we had gotten used to it by today. But back in those days it was shocking to find out that the man appointed by the president to run the agency was the agency’s most vocal critic. He came in with I think not too disguised program to shut the agency down. And Legal Services was his prime target. He began appointing people to the Office of Legal Services who were either totally outside the whole legal service mainstream and had no concept of it or had been vocal critics of it one way or another and fairly quickly the Washington staff and I think this was 1972-73 became populated with people who were basically enemies of the program. And I think he hired like 40 people to work there at what we considered to be very inflated salaries and we assume they were on a mission to destroy the agency. Fortunately a law suit was brought fairly early in Howard Phillips’ tenure to challenge his appointment to the job because as I remember it, and this has been a few years this was a presidential appointment that required Senate confirmation and he ignored the advice and consent role of the Senate and he just appointed Phillips to this job and Phillips began acting as the director of the agency and began de-funding programs, shifting money around, hiring people, firing people, and a law suit was brought challenging that fact, that he had not been confirmed by the Senate. And one of the plaintiffs in that law suit was a program in Jackson, Mississippi, Central Mississippi Legal Services, a program that Dan had funded with something we may talk about later, some snow that he pushed in the region and funded this program in Jackson which was a wonderful legal services program, and immediately began filing very important law suits in Mississippi and quickly earned the ire of the bar association and the governor of that state.
Victor Geminiani: You must have felt relieved the day that the federal judge enjoined Howard Phillips from continuing to serve.
Hulett Askew: Very relieved.
Victor Geminiani: Can you remember your feelings that day?
Hulett Askew: Well I don’t specifically remember that particular day but I remember six months leading up to that day where we had no contact from the Washington office. They left us alone basically. They de-funded the Jackson program and funded a new bar-sponsored program in its place without even contacting us in the regional office. That was what led the Jackson program to bring a law suit. They would not speak to us or return our phone calls. Dan had a habit of calling the director’s name who name Lorrie McCarty, calling him almost one a week and saying hi this is your regional director in Atlanta, I would just like to know if there is anything you would like for us to be doing here, his secretary would take the message and say I’ll have Mr. McCarty call you back. He never returned the call. I mean it was an amazing situation. We were there for six months. And it was a terrible mistake they made obviously to leave us in Atlanta and others in other regional offices alone while we continued to do what we were doing without any direction or intervention from them and what they tried to do was de-fund programs like COLA and Jackson, Mississippi and others without involving us. Dan when they had the hearing on the de-funding went to Washington after Howard Phillips was removed from office, a man named Al Arnett who was his deputy, a long time Republican activist became the director of OEO and immediately Judge Jones ordered him to hold hearings on all these de-fundings, the first one of which was the Jackson, Mississippi program. So Dan flies to Washington to testify as a regional director and of course defends the program and says what the Washington staff did was indefensible and there were no grounds for it. Arnett immediately reversed and reinstated the grant to the Jackson program and offered Dan a job as his special assistant after hearing him testify. So Dan in a matter of weeks moved to Washington to become the special assistant to Al Arnett and tried to put OEO back together again after Judge Jones’ ruling and left me in Atlanta to be in effect the regional director for almost two years while he was in and out of Washington and helping Arnett until ultimately Arnett was fired by the White House and then Dan ended up back in Atlanta but fortunately by that time the whole political process had worked and the Legal Services Corporation legislation was under consideration and ultimately was adopted so as a matter of timing it worked out beautifully because about the time that Arnett was leaving the legislation was coming to fruition and was being signed and so the transition then began to the Corporation from OEO.
Victor Geminiani: During this period of President Nixon’s services as president of the United States and in charge directly of OEO there was a freeze $71 million was allocated in 1969 and the last of the Lyndon Johnson budget no more money came to the legal services and I think all of OEO until 1976 as I recall the first Ford budget President Ford budget, during that period of time the concept of pushing snow as you referred to before short funding programs was one of the major methods that was used to allow programs to continue to exist during inflationary years and improve services and support the staff, could you describe that process who invented it and how it was utilized by regional offices and OEO.
Hulett Askew: Well I don’t think it was invented by OEO, I think it may have been although I’m not sure it’s a fairly typical government funding mechanism that was utilized but there was a man at OEO Legal Services named Alf Corbett who had been in the government and understood how the government worked and he was a very creative guy. He was the fellow who I think developed the $7.00 per poor person formula later when the Corporation came around and he with Dan began a process of well back then every grantee was not funded on the same date. Grantees of OEO were spread out all through the fiscal year. Some were funded in October, some in November, some in December but the government fiscal year was October 1. So what they would do is fund a program for nine months, fund it from January 1 to October 1 and allocate nine months worth of money to it even though it had an annual funding level of $100,000 and they would only have to put out $75,000 or whatever to that grantee in that year. And they would build up a small reserve the remainder of that was in a reserve pot allocated to that program for the next year but unspent. That became known as snow and when you go from one fiscal year to the next you would present figures to the Congress showing that last year we spent $71 million but in fact if you looked at the books you would see that you had programs funding levels at more than $71 million but you only had to allocate that much money during the year because of these spread out funding years. What Dan did was fund two programs in the south when we had no increase in federal funding. Georgia Legal Services was funded I think in 1971 with the snow that would have been accumulated in the south which is pretty remarkable when there is a total of $7 million I think we funded Georgia Legal Services for $300,000 or $400,000 in 1971 or ’72 with the snow that had been pushed in the south and then the Jackson, Mississippi program was funded in 1972 for $200,000 with the snow that had been accumulated in the south. Some other programs like Atlanta Legal Aid were given small increases from the snow that was pushed in the south. It was a perfectly legitimate process but it was a frightening one to me because you knew it was like the deficit you knew that one day the bill is going to come due. Fortunately for us the Legal Services Corporation came into existence right about the time that the debt was due and that is one reason I think people never understood why OEO was funded at $71 million in 1974 I think the Corporation came into existence and its first appropriation was $91 million for 1975 but there was no new money, where did all that money go. Well the money went into paying the debts that had been accumulated by the snow that had been pushed, the grants that had been increased, picking up the migrant programs, picking up some other programs that had been funded by the Department of Labor or other sources and so the first year of the Corporation other than paying for the start-up of the Corporation itself there really no money for expansion or for big increases to programs. I think programs may have gotten a small increase that first year but that $20 million basically went to pick up the expenses that had been accumulated over the last five years. It was a very creative and in the case of Georgia Legal Services and Community Legal Services in Jackson, Mississippi obviously a very important process because they never would have gotten off the ground and started if Dan hadn’t been able to do that.
Victor Geminiani: In 1975 you say the Legal Services Corporation came into being actually an act was passed in August of 1974, President Nixon’s last major act that he signed before he resigned, and a board was finally appointed by President Ford and began service in the early spring of 1975 the Corporation came into being according to the law 90 days after the first board meeting. Can you describe, you were still in the regional office during this period of time, can you describe the transitional issues that occurred as OEO became LSC. Were a lot of staff get picked up, did issues all of a sudden emerge that had not previously existed?
Hulett Askew: Well what happened was there was a transition team appointed. A man named Lou Oberdorfer was head of the transition. David Teitel, Gary Singsen were on the transition team they began in Washington and made an analysis of both issues that the Corporation had to deal with to get started and staff. And a statement was made that none of the OEO employees would be automatically picked up by the Corporation, that everybody had to apply for a job, interviewed and an independent decision would be made on each person working for OEO. Some staff chose not to apply although I think that was some of the folks in Washington who made a decision they wanted to stay with the federal government because if you left and went with the Corporation you were no longer a federal employee and I think some people who had been there a long time decided they wanted to stay with the federal government. But most of us applied and went through a process of interviewing and in fact the transition team did not hire a number of the regional office staff some of whom they shouldn’t have hired, had been Nixon appointees or folks who really weren’t qualified to hold the jobs. They had made a couple of mistakes I think in people they decided not to hire for one reason or another and then the others of us were hired. But the hiring was Dan and I were in Atlanta. There were two people in the Boston office, David Gilbert and Paul Newman and what they did to the four of us is said look we want all four of you to come work for the Corporation but we’ve got nine regional offices to staff now so we’re not going to allow you to all stay in your same places. We want to send each of you to a one city to all become regional directors. They asked me to go San Francisco and asked David Gilbert to go to Dallas, Texas which was where the regional office was at the time. Dan intervened and said Bucky has just gotten married, Bucky had really been running the south for the last two or three years while Dan has been in Washington on these other things, he intervened and said let me go to San Francisco and have Bucky stay in Atlanta.
Victor Geminiani: You would have been a California guy.
Hulett Askew: I would have been (…) the San Francisco region doesn’t know how lucky they were, this southerner with the blue sport coat would have been up and down the California coast. But fortunately and I didn’t even know Dan had done this, he went to them and said let me go to San Francisco, let him stay in Atlanta and I think frankly by that time Dan had decided that he may want to be leaving Legal Services anyway and he was willing to go out there and set up the regional office and secondly he because I had been in Atlanta for so long and knew the people there and knew the issues that it would be much better for the region if I stayed there maybe. So that is what happened. I stayed in Atlanta and became the first regional director. The other thing that was going on was the development of regulations for the Corporation. There were a number of working groups that were set up. One was the umbrella group that involved field people with Corporation staff and with others to write the new regulations for the Corporation. It was a very intensive, very productive process I think that went on for several months so there was a lot of frantic activity getting ready for the Corporation. And then of course they were hiring a whole new Washington staff. Tom Ehrlich was hired as the first president. None of us knew him, had any connection with him. He brought on with him Clint Bamberger who a lot of us did know because Clint had been the first director of OEO Legal Services so we had some connection with him. And then they began hiring staff in Washington and they hired a combination of former legal services people, Charles Jones, the director of the Los Angeles program became the first director of the Office of Field Services which was our the division we were under in the regional offices but then they went outside and hired a number of other people as the lobbyist, as the general counsel. Alan Houseman was hired as the director of the research institute and of course all of us knew Alan so there was this mixture of insiders outsiders and the field I think can be said didn’t really trust Ehrlich. He had not paid his dues in legal services and we didn’t tent to trust anybody who hadn’t paid their dues and he was very different. He was from sort of the diplomatic world, the academic world, we didn’t know what to make of him at the time. I think from my perspective he turned out to be a brilliant choice and did a remarkably good job under the circumstances. But I think during his entire tenure there were a lot of legal services people who really didn’t understand him and get a feel for him and never really came to trust him. But he hired an excellent staff I think in Washington. And they generally made good decisions on the people they hired in the regional offices. And the Corporation was off and running and the first Ford board from my perspective was a very good board because it was a combination of conservative Republican folks who had fairly good connections on the Hill and had some credibility with the White House but who generally shared our vision of legal services. We disagreed probably a lot of details but they were committed to legal services, they were committed to a free and independent program even though they came with different political philosophies there was no disagreement by them that I think this program shouldn’t grow and survive and be a well rounded good program. And I think it stood us in good stead the first couple of years to have a board like that. Roger Cramton, Gleasna, I can’t remember all their names now but I think it was generally a good board and Bob Kutak did a remarkable job of writing regulations for the Corporation in a way that everybody accepted all the way from the Congress to the field programs. So it was quite an interesting time that I think worked out quite well on the whole.
Victor Geminiani: During that period of time President Carter had just been elected and the budget of Legal Services Corporation increased from $96 million to $125 million in 1977 and in 1978 from $125 million to $205 million, a tremendous growth. You were the regional director in the region that a lot of that money went down to because of the uncovered areas in Region 6 the southeast, can you describe some of the experiences and issues that you had to deal with in that tremendous period of growth.
Hulett Askew: Yeah, the Corporation made a brilliant decision I think that the money should go be allocated out to the areas where there were no programs, the unserved areas and Tom Ehrlich did a brilliant job of selling the concept to the Congress of minimum access so the money was allocated in several different pots but the major pot was for expansion, funding new programs in areas where they didn’t exist. In the south I think we had about 30 programs funded at about $8 million and there were several states that had only one or two programs serving one or two counties so there were huge unserved areas. Huge need for legal services, quite a bit of bar opposition to the whole concept and yet a lot of money available. Back then I had a regional office of two. I had a secretary, named Opie Byrd, a wonderful person, and this money flowing in. And I quickly hired staff, I hired a fellow named Guy Lescault was the first staff person I hired who had worked for New Hampshire Legal Assistance and then ultimately Clint Lyons as deputy, Michael Terry as staff attorney, Betsy Neely as a staff attorney and we spent probably 80 percent of our time traveling around the south trying to set up new programs and then trying to assist those programs to get off the ground. And it was a remarkable experience. In retrospect I thought about this and I think the first year of expansion I funded 13 new programs. Tom Erlich asked the regional directors to come to Washington and appear before the board and make a presentation on the work of the regional office and expansion and all these issues and they had basically left us alone something I may talk about in a minute but they basically Charles Jones’ philosophy was you hire good people and you give them some direction and you leave them alone to do their work and so he basically stayed out of my business in Atlanta and we were frantically doing all of this and they called me to Washington to appear the LSC board and talk about expansion. So I set up a little map of the south and you know put pins and colors and all that and the regional director who appeared before me got up and talked about how much time he invested in funding this one new expansion program, this was out in the west, all the effort that had gone into it and the difficulty of funding an expansion program and made this fairly lengthy presentation about funding this one new program. I got up right behind him and said I’m funding 13 and this gasp came out of the room at the thought of what I was doing down there and I think they began to pay closer attention to me and wondering whether I really was in control of what I was doing down there, was I throwing this money away, where was this money going, who was I dealing with but in fact we were in control and the reason we were in control is that by that time in the history of the south there were enough people around the south who had either worked in legal services, been on boards of legal services, been in the civil rights movement and somehow connected to public interest work where I could go into almost any community in the south and say I’m interested in setting up a legal services program, I would like to find the people in this community who are best suited to do this and instantly either the program in the next community or the leadership of the public interest bar in that community could tell me who to deal with and I ended up mostly relying upon people. I found Martha Bergmark at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Martha set up a program here. Neil McBride in upper east Tennessee, Neil start a program here, Rural Legal Services of Tennessee. I mostly relied upon people either existing legal services people in those states to create these new programs or expand their current programs or we identified people who were willing to go in and help set them up. And Neil tells a wonderful story I think of meeting with me up in Tennessee, coming to Atlanta and holding one meeting in Atlanta, to go over the plans for his program and doing a sell job on us. About six weeks later he gets a check in the mail for about $60,000 and it knocked him out of his chair. But that is basically the way we were functioning. We were relying upon some very good people, very experienced people and we were available to help them in any way we could but we had a lot to do in a short period of time and we had a lot of political obstacles to overcome which we didn’t do a very good job with I think in the first year, year and a half in terms of who we offended in this process because back in those days we basically ignored the bar association because it was our feeling and it was generally true that most bars were hostile to the idea of legal services. They wanted to control the boards of the programs and of course they couldn’t under the act. It would create huge delays in getting these programs started if we had to go through that machinery. So we basically went around the bar association in funding most of these programs. We would ask the recipients of the grant now you please go and work with the bar and get them involved but it was after the grant had been made and obviously as a result of that we offended a lot of people and that came back to haunt us in some ways.
Victor Geminiani: Any particularly strong battles that you remember during the expansion years vis-à-vis these local bars.
Hulett Askew: There were a number. I mean even before the days of having to hold hearings and all of that there communities that I had to go into and face really hostile opposition and bitter and anger from bar leaders or other community leaders who either wanted the grant for themselves or just didn’t want us there at all. And frequently they wouldn’t tell you which was which, they would make the arguments as if they wanted the money for themselves, the bar wanted to run the program but in fact you would get the sense that they just didn’t want you at all, we take care of our own, there is no problem here. You’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it, well maybe not for 15 years but back then there is no poverty here to the extent that there are any poor people the bar takes care of them, we’ve looked around nobody goes unserved here, we don’t need federal intervention but if you are going to fund something we want you to give it to us. And my answer was I’m sorry I can’t give it to you, we have to give it to a broad based board that involves clients, involves the bar can only have fewer than 50 percent of the attorney appointees on the board, they didn’t like that, they frequently refused to cooperate and that was fine, we would go ahead and make the grant and then ask the program come back and mend fences with the bar. And that obviously was very hard for new program directors struggling with hiring staff, providing services, training and all those issues to also be faced with this anger from the bar association over what had happened. I’m trying to remember any of the particularly difficult situations we had and none jump to mind because they all seemed to be hard. Although I must say there were some enlightened bar leaders around, there were some people who understood and who actively participated. But generally my memory is that we basically dealt with the civil rights community, with the public interest community, with former legal services lawyers or current legal services lawyers who were willing to go out and help set up a program in a new area and that is who we were dealing with in the first two years of expansion.
Victor Geminiani: Between 1975 when the Legal Services Corporation came into existence and you became the regional director for the southeast in 1978 I think it was August that you left to go to Washington, D.C. to begin work at the deputy director of the Office of Field Services, do you have any idea how many programs were created under your leadership?
Hulett Askew: Oh no I don’t have a firm number on that. I know eventually it ended up being 65 programs in the south. We started at about 30 so it is somewhere 30 to 35 programs were created. Now some of those were state support centers, 10 state support centers ended up being funded that weren’t there before.
Victor Geminiani: You funded those through special needs funds
Hulett Askew: Through special needs fund and through something called Title III funds, I can’t remember all the categories now. The Corporation also besides giving expansion money also had some money for what they called special needs that if you could identify special client population or special program need you could have some funds to allocate to that. I made a decision in the south that I wanted to put most of my special needs, we had plenty of expansion money and the existing programs were also getting large increases because they were funded at such a terribly low level, I think Atlanta Legal Aid was probably at $.70 or $.80 cents a poor person so they were getting big increases so special needs I decided in the south would go to funding state support centers and we ultimately ended up funding one in every state in the south.
Victor Geminiani: There was none located in the southeast as I recall prior to you deciding to invest money Title III money into state support structures.
Hulett Askew: No there were none in the south and the models were Legal Services of New Jersey and Bass Law Reform and there was movement nationally to create these new centers and I was very much taken with that, thought it was a wonderful thing, especially we were creating these new programs and hiring lots of new staff and I felt it was critical that there be someone at the state level who could focus on things like training and legislative advocacy in helping these new programs and taking some of the burden off them and be a focus and what I would typically do is go into the state in Tennessee I would get the five directors together and say I want a state support center here, you work it out. I want each of you to have a stake in it and want each of you to be involved in it but it’s going to be an umbrella group that is not going to be controlled by one program or the other, and it worked beautifully I think in many states to bring the program directors together in those states to work on common issues and to settle their expansion disputes, because there were disputes between existing programs over new territory. And those were things that I didn’t necessarily want the regional office to have to settle. I didn’t want to have to go in and say who got Polk County, Florida, I would rather the three programs who were interested in Polk County to get together and figure out who is best suited to serve this area and you present a plan to us. If we think the plan makes no sense then we will intervene and if you can’t settle it we’ll come in and settle it. And that worked. I think the state support centers helped be a focus for settling expansion disputes. And each of the states basically went through a planning process that we funded and required them to go through to set up a state support center. And I think it worked beautifully in the south. I don’t know how it worked in the other parts of the country but for this region I think it was very important.
Victor Geminiani: In 1978 you moved to Washington, D.C. to work directly in the Office of Field Services as a Washington staffer, can you tell me how it occurred?
Hulett Askew: The man who was the director of the Office of Field Services resigned to go back to Los Angeles ultimately was appointed to the bench, Charles Jones, who had been the first and only director of field services, a wonderful man, totally different management style than mine but a wonderful man. He left and Tom Ehrlich began a process of looking for his replacement and Tom made it clear that he would like to hire a minority for that job and he went through several months of interviewing people and looking and trying to identify the right person and was not getting very far and one day he called me in my office and said what his problem was and what he was looking for and he said are there program directors in your region or people you know nationally and we talked about a number of names and he said well anybody you can think of and I said well frankly Tom the best person is right here in the Atlanta regional office. And he said and who is that and I said it’s Clint Lyons. And he said well tell me about him and so I told him about Clint and did a very nice sell job to be honest and I believed it because he had been in the regional office for a year and a half and he had been a program director, he had been a managing attorney at Georgia Legal Services, he had a breadth of experience, I had recruited him to come be the deputy regional director in Atlanta and he had been there for a year and a half and done a wonderful job in Atlanta but he didn’t know Tom and Tom didn’t know him and so Ehrlich said are you guys going to be around this week and I said sure. He said I would like to come down there. So he flew down the next week, I told Clint this was going on and Clint was a little taken aback. He flew down the next week and spent about an hour talking to Clint and soon thereafter offered him the job. And Clint was a little I think shook up by all this I mean this all happened very quickly and he had not worked with the Washington staff the way I had, he didn’t know the actors up there, he didn’t know exactly what he was getting into, he came to me and said he thought he was going to take the job but he wanted to know if I would come up there with him and be his deputy director. And he raised that with Ehrlich I think in the beginning and said he would be a lot more we had worked well together, that I understood the regional offices and the scene a lot better than he did and he felt it would be much more comfortable situation for him if the two of us came together. So Ehrlich accepted that. And so Clint and I debated actually for quite a while about whether to do this. And we ended up agreeing to do it and he became the director of the Office of Field Services and I became the deputy director so we switched rolls. I went from being his supervisor to him becoming the supervisor. I think a lot of people never understood why we did that or what the reasons were for it but it worked out beautifully for both of us personally and I think it worked out beautifully for the Corporation because it allowed Clint to focus on the external issues or the issues within the Corporation like the delivery system study, working with the research institute, working with the senior staff of the Corporation, all the training issues that were so critical back then and to deal with the senior staff and he asked me to work on the regional offices because we had concerns about the regional offices at that point and what they were doing and how they were functioning so I became sort of the internal person focused on the staff of the Office of Field Services and he spent much if not all of his time focused on the external issues and dealing with the native American community, dealing with migrant programs, dealing with the staff of the Corporation while I was focused almost exclusively on our own staff. And that was a time when we were growing dramatically also. We ended up with over 100 and some people working in the Office of Field Services, about 70 of whom were lawyers. There had really been no management of the regional offices until we came to Washington and so we both decided that was a critical need and he asked me to take that on while he did other things and then we recruited people like yourself and Steve Grandberg and other to come in and help us and became a very intensive time for us.
Victor Geminiani: The Office of Field Services in those years was a very influential office probably most influential of all of the offices in Legal Services Corporation not only oversaw the regional offices but through the regional offices provided an oversight responsibility for all field programs and also involved itself in supplying support to field programs in a variety of different techniques. Probably 95 percent of the money that was distributed to the field went through the Office of Field Services so the responsibilities were quite extensive. Can you tell me when you went to Washington if you had or if you soon developed particular goals that you were going to try to achieve during the next two-three years?
Hulett Askew: Yes, in terms of field services we had some pretty clearly defined goals for the office. We had been in a regional office that had a particular philosophy about the way we related to field programs and the way we did our work. That philosophy was not shared by the other regional offices and Charles Jones had been the kind of manager who allowed each regional office to determine its own agenda, its own set of goals, its own way of doing its work and its own relationship with the field and there were nine regional offices then I believe and each one of the nine had a different relationship with the programs, had a different way of doing business, allocated its time and money in different ways. Clint and I thought that was not healthy and wanted to bring a common set of goals, a common management plan to the Office of Field Services, the staff was growing, the amount of authority was growing, the money that these folks had to allocate was unbelievable and we felt it was not a good way of managing it to allow everybody to operate on their own. So we began fairly quickly after coming to Washington an attempt to organize the Office of Field Services in a way that everybody had a common understanding of what the role was and what we were trying to accomplish with the field and how we were going to do it. And it went on over two years. Our philosophy was that the regional offices had a responsibility to programs to help them with their development, that we viewed ourselves in partnership with programs, that we all shared a common goal which is delivery of high quality legal services and that our main focus was to be there to assist programs to deliver those services. And that anything that we could do in the way of technical assistance, training help, resources we were there to and that was our primary focus. We obviously had the responsibility to monitor and evaluate and be policemen and we didn’t ignore that responsibility and if the time ever came where a program was not responding or quality of services was such that something had to be done we would intervene. We would find a way to change that but we didn’t want that to be our major focus and we didn’t want to be viewed by the field as policemen. Also these programs, especially the south, were going through dramatic changes all during this period and growth, change, the need for training. We were fortunate in the south in that we were able to say to programs like the Legal Services Corporation of Alabama, start with a good salary plan, start with a good training program, don’t start the way a lot of these programs now start because of their historical development, start giving some thought to all these things that are going to be important to you five-ten-fifteen years down the road and a lot of the southern programs were blessed in the sense that they started with very good salary plans, very good training programs, good support operation, all of those things. There wasn’t true in other regions because of the way things had happened from either the regional office or because they didn’t get the kind of expansion money or cost of living increases that programs in the south got. So we wanted regional office staff to accept this role, accept this philosophy that we brought with us and it was a difficult goal. I mean it took us probably two years of working with them through a series of staff meetings, through some changes in staff, to the hiring of new staff, to beating it in the head sometimes to get them to buy into this. And I think eventually the message got across and they bought into it and boom 1981 came and it all came crashing down. But it was a very interesting worthwhile process I think that we went through of these training events using Joan Lieberman, using the people from Wharton to help us as a staff work through how we were going to work together and what we were going to try to accomplish in the common set of goals we share and at the same time we were able to hire a number of new regional directors who I think were a terrific set of people, who helped us with this such as yourself in Atlanta and Marjorie McDermott and Rita Bender and Theron O’Connor, Salvador Tio, were really a wonderful set of people who helped us with these changes we were trying to implement. And if the American people hadn’t screwed up and elected Ronald Reagan I think we would have been, we would have been in much better shape today. But it prepared us well I think for what happened in 1981 and ’82 because by then we pretty much I think had our act together in terms of what we were trying to do and how we were relating to programs and what our responsibilities were and what the programs’ responsibilities were. There were too many regional directors trying to run these programs, trying to tell these program director what they should do and how they should do it and how they are going to spend their money and who they are going to hire and who they are going to fire. And it was our philosophy that you stay out of that. That was the local program’s responsibility, you provided the help and assistance you could but it was not your role to go and tell these programs what they are supposed to do. And there were a number of regional directors who felt that was their responsibility back in 1978.
Victor Geminiani: There were a number of divisions within Legal Services Corporation, a research institute run by Alan Houseman, government relations, Mary Brudett, general counsel’s office Mario Lewis, Alice Daniels, president’s office of course, office of program support run by Dee Moulton, can you describe the relationships between the divisions within the Legal Services Corporation during the late 70s and maybe speak about some of the personalities.
Hulett Askew: Yeah it was creative tension may be one way to describe it. I think it was very healthy in the sense that we all shared a common set of goals, we all were firm believers in legal services, almost all of although there were some exceptions, had come out of legal services, Dee and Alan and Mario and Gary and Dan and many of the senior staff had actually worked in legal services. But there were others like Judy Riggs and Mary Brudett and some others who hadn’t been in legal services. And they were it’s interesting to reflect, there were issues that seemed at the time to be quite tension-ridden and heavy issues but in light of what was to come in 1981 all paled in significance but we worked I think fairly well together. And yet there were always sort of differences in approach and attitude. I think the staff of the Corporation was a remarkably talented group of people all during those years and we were blessed in that sense. And it prepared us for what was about to come. Clint was more focused on working with the senior staff and those folks. Back then and most people have forgotten the entire sixth floor of the Corporation was the training division of the Corporation. It was a huge operation. They probably had 50-60-70 people there focused on management training, ATDU, what did that stand for and then had paralegal training division, it was a huge, $6 or $7 million dollars of Corporation was spending per year on doing national training events all over the country. Dee Moulton was the director of that and there were times we would hear from field programs who disagreed with some of things or felt the money should be directed in different ways. We felt that we sort of represented the field perspective within the Corporation. Dee represented the training perspective. Alan sort of represented the future in the national support centers and the substantive issues that were out there. So everybody brought their own perspectives to the table. But I think on the whole we worked well together and it worked out fine.
Victor Geminiani: With the election of President Reagan in 1981 a variety of new issues arose. There was the implementation of the private bar involvement regulation, obviously retrenchment although it was unclear exactly how much reduction would occur and also the possibility of elimination of Legal Services Corporation. The internal staff in Washington formed a committee called the ABC Committee stood for Alan, Bea and Clint. You were a member of that committee and that committee’s charge as I understood it was to discuss a reorganization of the Corporation so that services to the field could continue at a reduced basis. Can you tell me some of the issues that you dealt with on that committee, some of the philosophical arguments that each side representing a particular perspective would present.
Hulett Askew: Well at that point Dan was president of the Corporation. Dan was focused totally on congressional issues and trying to withstand the assault from the White House and so he called Alan and Bea and Clint together and said I want the three of you to plan for the transition of the Corporation and to look at the future to look at what’s happening and to make some decisions about how we are going to absorb a cut, what we are going to do about staffing, what the important issues are that we’ve go to address over the next year or two and I want you to go through a planning process and come back to me with a set of recommendations on where the Corporation should go. The ABC Committee was creased now Gary was an active member of that also and Mario Lewis and Gary Singson and Mario Lewis also participated quite a bit in that. I was there sort of as the general counsel.
Victor Geminiani: Gary Singsen was the vice president of the Legal Services Corporation
Hulett Askew: For management and finance. And I participated as more of a staff person to the committee. I would make a lot of the arrangements and a lot of the background stuff between committee meetings but I was at all the meetings. And it was a remarkable process. We retained Joan Lieberman, a consultant from Bolder, Colorado who had worked for the Corporation at one point and done a lot of management training as the person to help us go through this process. I don’t know exactly how long it lasted but it was well over a year of meetings maybe twice a month where plans were laid for what was going to happen when the first Reagan budget hit and we started basically with a zero based budget and tried to figure out what are we going to do in terms of a transition to no funding for the Legal Services Corporation. We didn’t feel it was our responsibility to just say well we’ll close down and shut out and these programs are on their own. We felt we had some responsibility to help programs and make the transition to no federal funding. We also worked on plans for $100 million appropriation, a $200 million appropriation, a $300 million appropriation. Ultimately what Joan got us to do was focus on what are the critical issues that have to what are the critical parts of this program that have to survive under any scenario, under zero funding even. What has to be in place for legal services so that poor people would continue to receive legal services even if the federal role is ended and how can we assure that that happens in the time that we’ve got left. And we ultimately ended up focused on four issues. This is challenge to remember these but national and state support was one issue, training was another issue, help me if you can but we ended up with four priority areas we felt had to survive regardless of what the budget was and that decision helped us then make decisions about staffing of the Corporation, how funds would be allocated, how the cuts would be made when the budget was ultimately decided upon and it formed the basis for us to put all these other decisions into a rational context. Those decisions came to be known as the rubies which is an unfortunate description of them because what we decided to do was move the training function out of the Corporation and put the training money into the regional training centers because we felt that under any sort of scenario the Corporation would not be able to afford a $6 million dollar training program, that frankly the training function should not be a national function anyway it’s probably better done and more appropriately done at the state or local levels, that we ought to move those funds out of the Corporation, to get these training centers in a shape where even if there is zero funding even if there is 50 percent reduction in funding they can survive. That even under a grossly reduced budget training was important and had to survive. The same is true of national and state support. That even if the Corporation was abolished, even if there was a huge cut that state and national support were critical enough functions that they had to survive whatever was coming. We wanted to get them in condition to survive whatever came. And so we spent a good bit of time and reorganized the Corporation in effect to prepare for that day. We met with staff of the Corporation here at the Don Ceasare and announce to them that the Corporation is going to absorb a 50 percent staff reduction. We decided that the Corporation both as symbolic act and also as an acknowledgement of where the real need was should cut itself much deeper than the field was going to be cut. By this we knew the field was going to be cut by 30 percent or whatever it end up being, we felt the Corporation should reduce itself by 50 percent. In fact we ended up cutting the Corporation much more deeply than that because we abolished the entire training division. We went from a staff of 320 some odd staff people down to about 100 staff people in a matter of months. We did it I think in a very humane way by adopting this out placement program and hiring consultants to work with staff to help them move out but by the time it was over the regional offices had been reduced from over 100 people to down to around 40 people working in regional offices. It was a very intense experience and a difficult experience but probably one of the most thoughtful and productive processes I’ve ever been through because of the quality of the decisions that were made and the thoughtfulness with which they were made under fairly intense pressures and at the end we ended going to Dan or pulling Dan in at the very end saying this is what we’ve come up. This is what we propose. And he bought it pretty much lock, stock and barrel. And that became the retrenchment plan of the Corporation and that became very distorted by Senate critics of congressional critics of the Corporation who thought there was something inappropriate being done but it was totally appropriate, totally above board, very carefully thought out I think hopefully prepared the field programs and the infrastructure that was important to legal services prepared them for the day when the budget cut hit and helped us survive during the next 10 years or 12 years of what we had been going through.
Victor Geminiani: You had the opportunity to work with a number of people you mentioned three at least fairly well known legal services Joan Lieberman, Dan Bradley and Clint Lyons. Do you have brief memories about each?
Hulett Askew: Sure. I’ve often said that my life has been blessed by a series of mentors and since I was even a youngster but clearly since I became a lawyer and I’ve often described Dan as a mentor. Since I’ve left legal services I’ve done a lot more reading and thinking about what a mentor is and Dan wasn’t really a mentor because a mentor is someone that you see as a trusted advisor, someone you go to with problems and someone who is experienced and available to you to help you work through problems and that really wasn’t Dan. Dan was a very private person, he had his own life, he was not the kind of person who wrote a lot down and spent a lot of time with people advising them or guiding them, but he was a role model for me and I learned an awful lot from him just working under him in the regional office and at the headquarters in Washington watching how he operated. He was the most skilful politician bureaucrat in the best sense of the word that I’ve ever seen probably ever will see in the sense of the way he could get things done [END OF SIDE ONE OF TAPE] . . . get people to do what they needed to do, even manipulate at times he is an incredibly effective person. In the south, this region and these meetings I think are in large part due to a great deal to Dan’s leadership in that region and leadership of the Corporation. And the kind of people who work in legal services I think to a large degree are a result of Dan’s leadership and he and I were very close friends and worked together closely for a long time but I never would have considered him to be a trusted advisor because he was a very personal for reasons we all know now very contained sort of person who you didn’t really call upon for personal advice or guidance or leadership. Clint, on the other hand, and I have been together until I left NLADA since 1976 however long that’s been and we’re very close both personally and professionally. I learned an awful lot from him and I think he learned a lot from me. He is one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met from a conceptual point of view in terms of conceptualizing a problem, conceptualizing a solution, understanding the dynamics of a group or a set of issues, he’s absolutely brilliant at doing that. And in fact I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anybody better. We were good together because that is not one of my skills. My skill is sort of at implementing and getting something done and when something needs to be accomplished, a project needs to be done, work needs to get out I’m pretty good at doing that that’s not his strength, so we complemented each other extremely well I think. We never had any concern about each other, we never competed with each other. We were always there to support each other. I think it was a really beautiful relationship and one that has worked very well in the regional office, with the Corporation and with NLADA. Joan Lieberman is one of the true heroes I think of this whole movement and probably had has much influence over me in my work in legal services more than anybody else in legal services and because of her brilliance she’s a very intellectually one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met and her caring way of doing things, her understanding of management issues and the work she did with us at the Corporation in working with the regional offices and then at NLADA after we left the regional offices was absolutely brilliant. And she’s one of the unsung heroes I think of this program because a lot of the work she did was behind the scenes other people got credit for it, I got a lot of credit for things that Joan did, Clint got a lot of credit for things Joan did, others have gotten a lot of credit for what she’s done in the way she helped us work through difficult problems, advice he gave us, training techniques she developed for us that sort of thing. And she would be horrified to hear you or me or Clint or anybody else say all these things because she’s a very self-effacing sort of person but she really has had a remarkable impact on us personally and I think as a result a remarkable impact on the program.
Victor Geminiani: You are now since leaving NLADA in charge in Georgia in charge of our admissions and professionalism. Can you tell me a little bit about the work you’re doing now and how it may relate to legal services?
Hulett Askew: Yeah it’s the Supreme Court of Georgia in 1989 created a commission on professionalism and was the first state to do so and also changed the mandatory CLE requirement to require one hour CLE for every lawyer on professionalism each year in addition to ethics, so they did all this and then they realized they didn’t exactly know how to implement it. And luckily for me and for them there was a man on the commission named Jim Elliott who had been president of the state bar and had been one of these Emory lawyers who had worked at Atlanta Legal Aid and been on the Georgia Legal Services board, a long time legal services supporter who contacted me through John Connelly to see if I would be interested in coming there and helping them put some focus to this. The reason I was attracted to it is one it was back in Atlanta and two their definition of professionalism is public service. Every state bar is wrestling and every lawyer probably is wrestling with this idea of professionalism, what does it mean and how am I supposed to understand these concepts and put them into practice. And for a lot of states it’s come to mean civility, lawyers need to be nicer to each other that we don’t like what’s going on Rule 11 is becoming a commonly cited sanction and lawyers just aren’t pleasant any more. Well that’s not what’s going on in our state. What professionalism means in our state is a responsibility of lawyers to be good public servants, to take care of their responsibilities to their clients, to the profession and to the public as a whole and my chief justice is fond of saying that a lawyer without a social conscience is a dangerous instrument and that is what attracted me to it. It has been a very exciting and rewarding sort of thing last year and a half and I wrote an article for MIE saying I think there are great benefits to this whole movement nationally for legal services that it’s the values that we hold dearest is what this movement is about in Georgia and from a self-interested point of view it holds great promise for pro bono, for indigent defense because what it’s saying is lawyers have a responsibility, they have a responsibility to access to justice, they have a responsibility to profession, and they have to act on that responsibility. And it’s a call to lawyers to live up to those values and responsibilities that a lot of them under the economic pressures they are facing today are saying they don’t have time for. And we’ve gotten a very positive response in Georgia to this effort. And I think ultimately it’s going to work to the benefit of access issues, to indigent defense, to legal service, to public service to public interest work around the country. And what I was doing at MIE was trying to encourage legal services program people, board members, project directors and others to get involved in this effort in their local community to make sure it stays on that track, don’t let it get diverted off into this civility codes of courtesy sort of stuff. Keep it on the track of public service, make sure that the court or bar whoever starts the effort understands that this is about broader issues more philosophical deeper issues than just civility.
Victor Geminiani: You have served in legal services now for over 20 years. Do you have any final concluding thoughts, lessons that you would like to suggest we think about, insights, suggestions.
Hulett Askew: Well I’m not sure it’s been for me personally it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. I don’t think I’ll ever meet people whatever I do the rest of my life like the people in legal services. I’m not leaving, I’m back here at . . . this year and I hope to come back every year. I don’t want to cut my ties to this community. I’m constantly thinking of ways that what I’m doing now in terms of bar admissions or professionalism relates to legal services, or legal services relates to it. I’m trying to keep my finger in to the extent I can. I agree with Hillary in the interview that she gave yesterday that this survival thing we’ve been through for the last ten years has really tested the metal of this program and I think has made it a stronger program and it has survived because of the rightness of what we do and the quality of the people doing it. And the support that we’ve been able to generate either locally or nationally for what we’re doing and I said to somebody the other day there is not a bar president in this country I think that could get elected on a state or local level on an anti-legal services platform. In every bar president that runs every person who runs for elected office in the bar in Georgia has to run on being a friend of legal services, a supporter of legal services. In fact they all are but even if they weren’t I think they would have to mouth that rhetoric because legal services is an important accepted facet of this nation’s life now and of the access to justice issues and I think it’s in great shape to move into the future if we could just get an administration in there who would be supportive. But I don’t have any grand schemes or grand thoughts other than it’s been a wonderful experience, a remarkable set of people, an incredible time to live through and is a very difficult decision to leave and I haven’t left I’m still back, I intend to still hang around to the extent I can and be involved to the extent I can. And when you become president of the Legal Services Corporation, Victor, I’ll probably be ready to give up and move back to Washington and go to work for you.
Victor Geminiani: You’ll have the offer . . . I’m sure. Bucky, thank you very much for making time available this morning. I can tell you that from everyone I know you are the institution in legal services of all the people that thousands that have met you have been in contact with you are the central force in many of our lives, you have a . . . career of providing counsel and comfort to so, so many people, you have always been available and you have always been there with your wisdom and your guidance for all us. I want to thank you on behalf of the community, the clients, the board members, the supporters of legal services around the country for your life’s career in the work that you’ve done.
Hulett Askew: Well thank you Victor. It’s a great experience. Send me a dozen copies of that tape please.
Victor Geminiani: That was nicely done.