This Week's Report: "Legal-Aid Crisis"

As the economy teeters on the edge of recession, many poor and even middle-class people facing legal problems – mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy, spousal abuse, divorce and so on – are finding it hard to afford a lawyer. Yet, government-financed legal-aid programs are being slashed because of state and federal budget cuts.

Veteran reporter Barbara Mantel takes a careful look at the problem in this week’s CQ Researcher report, “Legal-Aid Crisis.” She notes that as legal-aid programs shrink, more and more people are trying to represent themselves in court – and often coming out on the losing end. Meanwhile, big law firms that provide free legal help for the poor have been cutting back on such “pro bono” services as they too try to cope with bad economy.

--Thomas J. Billitteri, Managing Editor