James Sandman, the new president of the federal Legal Services Corp., visited the Baltimore office of Maryland Legal Aid today. He met with Legal Aid staff, members of the judiciary, the private bar and another major funder.
“I’m reminded by hearing you speak of why I’m at LSC,” Sandman said after hearing comments about Legal Aid (an LSC grantee) and budgetary problems facing programs that help the poor, disabled and disadvantaged. “The people I admire most in the legal profession work in legal services, devoting their careers to helping others.”
Sandman said that Legal Aid is nationally known and “sets the standard. The people sitting at this table are an example of what needs to happen at other legal service providers. It works in other places, but not as smoothly as it does here. It needs to be replicated–and that’s part of my new job.”
Sandman said that his priorities are to increase LSC’s funding, to expand awareness of legal services in Congress and to build better alliances with other groups that serve the same populations as LSC, such as private foundations.
Also at the meeting: Retired Court of Appeals Judge Irma Raker, Maryland District Court Chief Judge Ben Clyburn, Equal Justice Council co-chairs Andrew Jay Graham and Ben Rosenberg, Maryland Legal Services Corp. executive director Susan Erlichman, Legal Aid president Warren Oliveri, and former LSC board member Herbert Garten.