Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin

Editor: W. Patrick Tandy

February, 2004

 

MLSC Welcomes New Executive Director

By Janet Stidman Eveleth

In December, Susan M. Erlichman became the new Executive Director of the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC), the agency that oversees funding for the state’s network of non-profit legal services organizations that provide civil legal services to low-income people. Erlichman, who served as MLSC’s Deputy Director from 1988 to 2000 and then as its Director of Operations, replaces Robert J. Rhudy, who served as MLSC’s Executive Director for 17 years.

MLSC’s new Executive Director was selected for her expertise and experience in executing MLSC’s many responsibilities. The Board expressed confidence in Erlichman’s “vision, leadership, outstanding abilities, contributions and commitment to MLSC,” according to F. Vernon Boozer, Chair of MLSC’s Board of Directors. Erlichman is “humbled, honored and delighted that the MLSC Board is giving her this wonderful opportunity.”

Erlichman plans to continue to strengthen the organization’s mission of ensuring that all low-income Marylanders have access to the state’s justice system. “This remains my overriding goal,” asserts Erlichman. Last year, MLSC awarded $6.5 million to 28 legal services programs, which in turn assisted over 100,000 Marylanders in family, housing, consumer, employment, health care and other civil legal services.

IOLTA continues to be MLSC’s primary source of funding for Maryland legal services. “Today, given current bank interest rates, this is, at best, a volatile funding source,” states Erlichman. On a short-term basis, she hopes to stabilize funding for legal services in Maryland so that funding is assured regardless of what interest rates banks pay on attorney trust accounts. “Once funding is stable,” she continues, “I hope to expand our services to more effectively meet the legal needs of low-income people across the state.”

Susan M. Erlichman

One way Erlichman hopes to achieve this is through legislation that MLSC is pursuing in this session of the Maryland General Assembly. “We hope to succeed in having legislation passed that will increase filing fees to support additional funding for civil legal services to the low-income,” explains MLSC’s Executive Director.

Erlichman’s MLSC expertise includes everything from managing all aspects of MLSC and administering the Interest on Attorney Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program to overseeing financial institution relations, grantee relations and the day-to-day administration of the Corporation. In her new leadership role, Erlichman will also handle government and legislative relations, oversight of the continued development and implementation of the Maryland Legal Assistance Network and the expansion of legal services resources.

A magna cum laude graduated of Temple University School of Law, Erlichman served as the Executive Director of the Senior Citizens Judicare Project in Philadelphia and practiced law at the law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoades in Philadelphia prior to joining MLSC in 1988. 

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: February, 2004

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