Funding shortfalls limit access to legal services for poor

People in dire need of legal aid suffer from funding shortfalls.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Susanne Cervenka
USA Today
July 29, 2015

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society of Monmouth County (NJ)


Legal aid offices across the country have been stung by the same forces: government cutbacks to such discretionary programs for the needy, and once-steady funding streams have been compromised by minuscule returns on bank deposits, a fact of economic life in the age of historically low interest rates.

Such shortfalls leave the poorest residents without legal help and, as a consequence, they are outgunned by represented parties, including landlords and creditors. Unlike criminal cases, the poor aren’t guaranteed legal help in civil courts.

“We can’t let poor people and people of modest means fall off the cliff because of lack of legal services,” said Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals.