Puerto Rico's Legal Services Office faces $5 million (£3.2m) in budget cuts next year, which will halt thousands of civil cases in the US territory.
Executive director Charles Hey Maestre said today that the 32 per cent decrease is the largest facing any US territory.
"The cuts are of such magnitude that all our services will be affected," he said. "We are basically the law firm for Puerto Rico's poor."
Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of people living in poverty in any US territory - roughly 45 per cent.
It is also struggling with 15 per cent unemployment - also the highest.
The US Legal Services Corporation is having huge difficulties operating this year on a $348 million budget, its lowest ever.
The Senate is expected to debate a further cut in 2013.
Corporation officials expect to lay off more than 1,200 staff and close at least 24 offices across the US.
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