A group of Maryland Hispanics yesterday raised about $1,500 to help pay legal fees for Jose Gutierrez, who was ousted as the District's purchasing department head in a dispute over city contracts.

Gutierrez filed suit against Mayor Marion Barry and the city government, asking for reinstatement to his job and $3 million in damages. U.S. District Judge John H. Pratt last week upheld the firing.

Gutierrez said yesterday that he is leaning against appealing the judge's ruling and proceeding to trial on other aspects of his suit. He said he has called on community groups to help him raise money to pay his lawyers' fees, which he said amount to about $10,000 so far.

Jose Luis Gonzalez, president of the Montgomery County Hispanic Coalition, said nine volunteers formed a legal defense fund for Gutierrez and sent letters to 450 persons, mainly Hispanics, inviting them to attend a wine-and-cheese-party fund-raiser. He said about 120 persons attended yesterday's fund-raiser, which brought in the $1,500.

Gutierrez said a Hispanic group in the District raised $1,500 for him two weeks ago and that other fund-raisers are scheduled this month and next.

Gutierrez said he is looking for a job with the federal government or a private company, but that he also is considering starting his own janitorial supplies firm.