Layoffs Scheduled At Rhode Island Legal Services

statue Rhode Island Legal Services will be laying off its entire paralegal staff of 13 employees tomorrow (Tuesday). RILS has been the state’s major law firm for low income people with civil legal problems for 40 years now. Kate Brock of Ocean State Action and Rhode Island Jobs With Justice are calling for a show of support for the staff and clients at noon on Tuesday at the offices on Pine Street. Go to the Facebook event page to rsvp and for details on getting transportation. [Demonstration of support is postponed until further notice, see below.]

Paralegals work as support staff lawyers, and many of them are long-term employees who serve as advocates in administrative-level appeals. From saving a family’s home from foreclosure, to ensuring that unemployed or disabled Rhode Islanders receive all the benefits they deserve, to helping domestic violence victims navigate family court, and much more, the staff of RILS works to provide important accessible and affordable legal defense for our communities.

A layoff of the paralegals will cause the program to lose its ability to serve clients in Spanish or Portuguese, and create a crisis for hundreds of Rhode Island residents — not to mention our court system. RILS management has made no plans for how the casework that is currently handled by the paralegals will be dispatched

[Demonstration postponed: RILS management is delaying the layoffs for two weeks. The demonstration originally planned for Tuesday noon at the Pine Street offices has also been postponed until further notice. BC]

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