GLSA (originally called the American Prepaid Legal Services Institute, “API”) was founded in 1975, by the American Bar Association (ABA), to act as an information clearinghouse and technical assistance resource for legal services plans, most of which at that time were created by collective bargaining agreements.
Data from an API survey conducted in 2004, found 5,000 legal services plans with 19.4 million enrollees, covering more than 45 million Americans, including eligible dependents.
Almost ten years later, it is estimated that there are now 122 million Americans with access to some form of legal services plan, based on an industry email survey from 2011. This increase can be attributed to recent commercially marketed plans which have expanded the availability of legal service plans to credit card holders, bank depositors, association members and individuals not affiliated with any group and the inclusion of a legal component in many Employee Assistance Plans (EAP).
Legal services plans offer easy access to the justice system, and may offer assistance with one or more of the following:
- Wills and trusts,
- Consumer transactions,
- Limited criminal legal representation and
- Domestic matters.
With ready access to any attorney, consumers often find that many of the legal issues they encounter can be addressed with a simple phone call to a legal services plan lawyer, often preventing larger problems from occurring, had the matter gone unaddressed.
ABA-API Leadership - click for a listing of the leaders of API/GLSA and the Standing Committee from 1970 to today.