Legal aid services

  • December 7, 2009
    Legal aid services for the economically hard hit continue to be woefully underfunded as the desire and need for them rise. Mary Pat Flaherty of The Washington Post focuses on the D.C. region, noting that in Maryland, the Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals has "urged lawyers to donate time or money to preserve the programs." The programs receive a lion's share of funding from interest on funds that law firms hold in escrow for clients. But with markedly low-interest rates, The Post reports, legal services have suffered.

    The Post writes:

    At the very time that more newly poor need help with the likes of mortgages, rent disputes and battles over wages, clinics across the country that help with noncriminal cases are enduring sharp funding drops.

    The newspaper notes that nationally "interest on lawyers' trust accounts has fallen from $371 million in 2007 to a projected $93 million this year."

    At an event hosted earlier this year by ACS, the Center for American Progress and the Washington Council of Lawyers, experts explored the Great Recession's impact on the availability of legal aid services. Click on picture to watch the discussion.