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Cover Image: CQ Researcher Legal-Aid Crisis v.21-35
  • Date: 10/07/2011
  • Format: Electronic PDF
  • Price: $15.00

  • Format: Single Copy
  • Price: $15.00
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CQ Researcher Legal-Aid Crisis v.21-35
Barbara Mantel, Freelance Writer

More than one in seven Americans lives below the poverty line, the highest proportion in nearly two decades, and many cannot afford a lawyer to resolve non-criminal legal problems involving such issues as spousal abuse, eviction, child custody and consumer fraud. Government-financed legal-aid programs have long helped fill the gap, but the weak economy and enormous pressure on state and federal budgets are putting those programs at risk. The Legal Services Corp., a nonprofit that distributes federal funding to civil legal-aid programs nationwide, faces potentially steep budget cuts in Congress, and some conservatives want to end the program altogether. As money for legal-aid programs shrinks, a growing number of poor people are representing themselves in court -- often to their own detriment. Meanwhile, debate continues about whether the nation's 1 million private lawyers should be required to provide free legal help to the poor.

Barbara Mantel, Freelance Writer

Barbara Mantel is a freelance writer in New York City whose work has appeared in The New York Times, the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology and Mamm Magazine. She is a former correspondent and senior producer for National Public Radio and has won several journalism awards, including the National Press Club's Best Consumer Journalism Award and Lincoln University's Unity Award. She holds a B.A. in history and economics from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in economics from Northwestern University.

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