Following the unexpected gift from the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum’s governing board of $100,000 to the Indiana Bar Foundation on Oct. 15, leadership for IBF said it is unlikely the foundation will give all of that money to the pro bono districts.
That same day, plan administrators of the 14 pro bono districts in Indiana met with IBF Executive Director Chuck Dunlap and Indiana Pro Bono Commission Executive Director Monica Fennell to discuss available funds for the districts from Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts. As of June 2010, there was $670,000 in available IOLTA funds, less than half of the $1.5 million available from IOLTA funds as of June 2009. That amount was about half of the approximately $3 million available in June 2008.
The amount of IOLTA funds at the end of June of one year is then distributed in January of the following year. Funds for the 2011 budgets were determined at the end of June 2010.
Of the $670,000 in IOLTA funds, $427,693 of that will be distributed starting in early 2011, plus 25 percent of the reserve, or $489,304. Typically, the IBF cannot request more than 20 percent of the reserve, but the Indiana Supreme Court granted their one-time request for 25 percent Oct. 13.
The amount from the reserve would make the total available $916,997, a shortage of $175,281 from the commission group leaders’ recommended amount of approximately $1.1 million in grants, a 30 percent decrease from the districts’ budgets for 2010.
The pro bono districts final 2011 budget requests are due Dec. 1, and districts will start receiving funding in January. However, districts that have carry-over funding from 2010 will be required to use those funds before receiving 2011 funds, which will be allocated on a quarterly basis.
The Indiana Pro Bono Commission has also requested that in June or July 2011, the Supreme Court and IBF consider an additional use of the reserve to cover the $175,281 shortfall if the economy improves to the point that interest rates rise again.
As for the $100,000 gift from ICLEF, the IBF had yet to decide how it would use it.
One possibility includes funding for the Justice Richard M. Givan Loan Repayment Assistance Program that, depending on how much is raised by Nov. 1, 2011, the Indiana Supreme Court will match up to $175,000.
Another possibility the IBF could consider is funding for the civics education program. Earlier this year, IBF announced that as of the end of 2010, it would cut three existing staff positions in that program to be replaced by one newly created position. Volunteers will now be expected to have a larger role, similar to what they did before the IBF started the three full-time civics education positions a few years ago.
Dunlap said the IBF wouldn’t make any announcements until its board meeting in December.
Rehearing "Predicting IOLTA fund revenues" IL May 26-June 8, 2010