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JSOnline - Wisconsin Judicare funding could decrease again

One of the major agencies providing free or low-cost civil legal services to Wisconsin's poorest residents is facing another round of significant layoffs.

In January 2011, Legal Action of Wisconsin employed 114 people to serve a 39-county area. Due to funding cuts, that staff shrank to 88 last month through a combination of attrition and 15 layoffs.

Now, said Executive Director John Ebbott, another 28 positions could be lost if the next funding squeeze goes through.

The same reductions are expected at legal aid programs nationwide, where as many as 750 employees - including some 350 lawyers - could be out of jobs. The shrinkage is largely attributable to Congress' continued pressure to defund the Legal Services Corp., a primary source of money for more than 130 legal aid programs.

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