(March 30, 2012) - Legal Services Alabama is closing its office located at 102 South Court Street, Suite 319 in Florence on March 30, 2012. Current clients of the Florence office were notified by letter of the closing and can reach the Legal Services Alabama office in Huntsville toll-free at (888) 741-7129 to speak with their lawyer. LSA will continue to maintain nine offices located throughout the state. Legal Services Alabama provides free civil legal assistance in critical areas of the law such as wrongful denial of public benefits, evictions and foreclosures, domestic violence, and consumer fraud.
Reduced funding from the Legal Services Corporation to the largest nonprofit law provider of free civil legal assistance in Alabama hits home. The Legal Services Corporation is the largest federal funder of civil legal aid in the country. During 2011, Federal funding for LSC during 2011 was less than half the level funding in 1981 (adjusted for inflation) and for FY 2012 the appropriation was reduced an additional 14.8%. This reduction cost Legal Services Alabama (LSA) $1.03 million in 2012.
"The funding reduction was anticipated and we conducted a review of our operations to determine how best to implement the adjustment to our budget with the least impact on service to our clients," explained Jimmy Fry, Executive Director of LSA. "The result is that we have made staff reductions across the firm and decided to close our office in Florence."
This doesn’t mean that people living in the Florence area will be without access to legal aid lawyers. "Clients seeking help with legal matters may call the Legal Services Alabama centralized intake line at 1-866-456-4995. We have two offices nearby, one in Tuscaloosa and one in Huntsville, that will continue to serve clients previously aided by the Florence office," Fry explained.
LSA receives the majority of its funding from the Legal Services Corporation. "As with any nonprofit, one challenge at LSA has been to diversify our funding to become less reliant on major funders during periods of economic downturn," Fry elaborated. "Although we have other sources of revenue, we were unable to raise funds to allow us to keep the Florence office open. We have a dedicated team of lawyers who will continue to serve eligible low income persons to the extent funding allows."
Individuals seeking legal help can apply online for free assistance by going to www.AlabamaLegalHelp.org or by calling the Legal Services Alabama centralized intake line at 1-866-456-4995.