According to a recent survey conducted by the Legal Services Corporation, local legal aid programs expect to reduce staffing by nearly 750 employees in 2012–including 350 attorneys– because of funding cuts. This represents a reduction of 8 percent of full-time-equivalent positions from the end of 2011.
Nationwide, programs receiving grants from LSC reported significant reductions in funding, staffing, and operations. Eighty-seven percent of the respondents report that their total (LSC and non-LSC) funding in 2012 will decrease significantly from 2011. Eighty-two percent of the programs with reserves expect to use those funds in 2012 to continue operations. One hundred thirty-three of the 134 LSC grantees responded to the survey.
So far, LSC-funded Maryland Legal Aid has not reduced staff or closed any offices. But that could change if the next General Assembly doesn’t extend or make permanent court filing fee surcharge increases that expire in 2013, said Legal Aid Executive Director Wilhelm Joseph. The surcharge increases, enacted nearly two years ago, supports civil legal programs that help low-income Marylanders across the state.
To read the LSC press release, click here.