Budget cut hits region’s legal aid groups

A 14-percent budget cut the federal Legal Services Corp. has D.C.-area legal aid programs scrambling, the Washington Post reported last week.

"Neighborhood Legal Services Program in the District, Legal Services of Northern Virginia and Maryland Legal Aid are consolidating offices and jobs, freezing salaries and more aggressively pursuing private funding and partnerships with law schools to share resources and manpower," the article said.

"Maryland Legal Aid, the largest civil legal services provider in the region with about 300 employees in 12 offices throughout the state, has not laid off any staff and does not plan to dismiss any staff in 2012, said executive director Wilhelm Joseph, Jr.," the article continued.

"To compensate for a 15 percent cut ($670,000 less) in LSC funding — paired with a 5 percent cut ($550,000 less) in funding from Maryland Legal Services Corp., the state counterpart to LSC — the nonprofit is looking to replace retiring staff with lower-paid new hires, tighten up travel and other expenses, and intensify fundraising campaigns aimed at law firms, foundations and individual donors."