ILNews

LSC says funding cuts will reduce staff, close offices

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The Legal Services Corporation offices around the country will have to lay off staff – including 350 attorneys – due to funding cuts, according to a survey released Wednesday by the legal aid program.

All but one of the 134 LSC grantees responded to the survey. Based on the results, local legal aid programs expect to reduce staff by nearly 750 employees this year, which is an 8 percent decrease in full-time equivalent positions from the end of last year.

Because of the funding shortage, more than half reported they will accept fewer cases and restrict what cases they accept. Nearly 30 percent of the programs expect to cut back on foreclosure-related issue services and services for victims of domestic violence.

Sixteen percent of respondents expect to close offices this year, according to the survey.

LSC provides funding for Indiana Legal Services.

LSC was established in 1974 by Congress and is the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans. Congress has cut its funding recently and a bill passed in the House of Representatives would cut an additional 6 percent from the agency’s budget, which would give LSC $328 million. ILS Executive Director Norman Metzger told Indiana Lawyer late last year the cuts translate to a loss of $819,000 in 2012 for the legal aid provider.

 

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  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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