Legal aid for Louisiana poor on chopping block in Trump’s budget

For one of the most impoverished states in the country, President Donald Trump's budget proposal could put even greater distance between a lawyer and Louisiana's poor.

News Story (Louisiana)

Richard Rainey
Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA)
April 3, 2017

Tags: Funding: Federal

Organizations mentioned/involved: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), Legal Services Corporation (LSC), ALSC Acadiana Legal Service Corporation


“If the LSC-funded programs were zeroed out, it would decimate the mechanism that ensures fairness in our legal justice system,” said Monte Mollere, director of the Access to Justice program for the Louisiana State Bar Association.

Louisiana’s poverty rate hovers around 20 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Mollere said about one in five low-income residents will encounter a legal problem and be unable to pay for it without help.

Southeast Louisiana, which serves New Orleans and 21 other parishes, would lose $3 million a year — just short of half its budget, said executive director Laura Tuggle. Its lawyers handle a gamut of legal cases for people who otherwise couldn’t afford representation. Evictions. Fraud. Abuse. Health insurance problems. Disaster recovery. Employment discrimination.