The White House has announced that President Bush will nominate former New Hampshire attorney general Thomas D. Rath to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corp.

Rath, a Republican in private practice in Concord, N.H., is a friend and former deputy to David H. Souter, Bush's Supreme Court nominee.

Rath would succeed former Illinois GOP representative John N. Erlenborn on the board. The Legal Services Corp. provides legal aid for the poor and has long been a lightning rod for criticism from conservatives.

Conservatives have sought to abolish the agency since the outset of the Reagan administration. They object in particular to Legal Services lawyers helping poor people file class action lawsuits against the government over welfare benefits and other programs.

Bush also announced plans to nominate seven people who have been serving on the Legal Services board as recess appointees since Jan. 22. They now will face Senate confirmation.

They are: former GOP representative Guy V. Molinari, borough president of Staten Island, N.Y.; Jo Betts Love of Mississippi; Jeanine E. Wolbeck of Minnesota; Howard H. Dana Jr. of Portland, Maine; Luis Guinot Jr. of Puerto Rico; Penny L. Pullen, Republican leader of the Illinois House; and George W. Wittgraf of Cherokee, Iowa.