In 1982, the Maryland Legal Services Corporation was authorized by the General Assembly (Chapter 829, Acts of 1982).

The Corporation distributes funds to nonprofit groups that provide civil legal assistance to low-income Marylanders. These groups provide assistance with cases involving housing, family, employment, disability, public benefits, and special education. The Corporation also ensures that grants and contracts are made so as to provide the most stable, economical and effective delivery of legal assistance to eligible clients in all areas of the State.

Maximum income levels for client eligibility are established by the Corporation. These are based on a client's financial inability to pay for competent private counsel and other necessary expenses of representation. Maximum income levels for eligibility set by the Corporation may not exceed 50 percent of the median family income for Maryland, as certified annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Most funding for the Maryland Legal Services Corporation comes from the Maryland Legal Services Corporation Fund, which is administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts. The Fund includes interest on lawyer trust accounts, certain surcharges assessed in civil court cases as provided for in State law, certain monies from abandoned property funds deposited in the State's General Fund, and investment earnings of the Fund (Chapter 839, Acts of 2017; Code Human Services Article, secs. 11-401 through 11-408).

In October 2021, the Maryland Legal Services Corporation became responsible for the Access to Counsel in Evictions Program, and administration of the Access to Counsel in Evictions Special Fund (Chapter 746, Acts of 2021; Code Real Property Article, secs. 8-901 through 8-906, 8-908 through 8-911).

Ten members constitute the Corporation's Board of Directors. Five are lawyers and four are not lawyers. They are appointed to three-year terms by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. Appointed by the Board of Directors, the Executive Director serves ex officio as a nonvoting Board member (Code Human Services Article, secs. 11-101 through 11-801).

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