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I think that we have a state role model here

  • October 15, 2017 11:04 PM PDT


      the funding available for civil legal services throughout the state and then to make grants to organizations in a manner that would provide the most stable, effective and efficient services to people who need them," said Susan Erlichman, executive director of the Baltimore-based grant-maker to 34 frontline client organizations.

    "I think that we have a state role model here, and also a role model in the funding [area]," said Herb Garten, a former board chair and current board member of the Federal Legal Service Corporation.

    It was the state?s IOLTA legislation ? which requires the pooling of smaller or briefly held attorney case settlement moneys into interest-bearing trust accounts at banks ? that created the Maryland Legal Services Corporation in 1982.. Its nine-member board is appointed by the governor.

    Funding comes from a state-mandated source ? the interest on lawyers? trust accounts ? and from surcharges on court filing fees.

    With a bare-bones staff of rubber boot four administering a 2007 budget of $12.

    "We are at the top of the list of the 50 states in available funding for civil legal services for the poor.

    And in 2007 Cv joint the program will generate some $6 million in interest for the corporation, while in 2008, bank willingness to increase IOLTA interest rates will increase revenues by 25 percent, Erlichman said.

    "Our job is to maximize .

    "The bad news is that we?re only meeting a very small fraction of the need," Erlichman said, invoking studies finding up to a 75 percent greater need than is served.."

    Just as ex-secret agent Robert McCall offered his services ? preferably in standoff, discreet ways ? to the underdog, the nonprofit financially seeks to equalize legal representation for all residents.5 million in service of a potential eligible client base of 1 million, the corporation ? through client organizations such as the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service ? directly assisted 112,815 needy clients in 2006 and indirectly helped double that number, Erlichman said.

    The Maryland Legal Services Corporation is like the grant-making world?s counterpart to the mid-?80s television sleuth-to-the-strapped, "The Equalizer."

    ."I think that they?re critical to helping Maryland achieve equal justice under the law for all of its residents, irrespective of income," said Hannah Lieberman, deputy director of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau