Editor: W. Patrick Tandy
MLSC Welcomes New Executive Director
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.
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.