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ICLEF gives $100,000 to Indiana Bar Foundation

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The Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum’s governing board is giving $100,000 to the Indiana Bar Foundation, which is struggling financially because of low interest rates that have hit IOLTA accounts and created problems in funding pro bono and related programs statewide.

At the Indiana State Bar Association’s House of Delegates meeting this morning, ICLEF president Linda Meier announced the donation was approved by the board of directors on Thursday. She said the money is unrestricted, meaning it can be used on any of the IBF initiatives such as pro bono or civil education programs and services.

IBF’s executive director Chuck Dunlap thanked the ICLEF for its generosity, in light of the financial woes in the past year. IOLTA revenue is the primary funding source for the IBF.

“It’s no surprise what interest rates are these days and what that means to IOLTA, and that hurts,” he said, referring to the nation’s historically low rates.

An annual report submitted today at the House of Delegates meeting shows that IOLTA income in 2008 was approximately $3 million, but dropped by half to $1.5 million in 2009 and that for this past year it’s been $670,000.

That translates to a drastic reduction in what the state’s Pro Bono Districts can operate on, according to the report. Grants totaled $1.69 million last year and for 2010 they totaled $1.57 million. The 2011 requests initially were $1.41 million, but have been scaled back to about $1 million. However, only $427,000 is available to distribute from IOLTA revenues, the report shows.

Any shortfall must be addressed by the IOLTA reserve fund of $1.9 million, but the Indiana Supreme Court has set a guideline limiting use of the fund in any given year to 20 percent of the balance. The organization leadership met with Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard to request exceeding that amount so that 25 percent of the reserve balance could be used, providing for about $175,000 in additional funding. The Supreme Court approved the 25 percent request on a one-time basis. Even with this increase and the new ICLEF donation, the IBF would still face a shortfall but it would only be about $75,000 and that could be better covered by carry-over funding from some of the districts.

These funding issues come on the heels of action last year by the state’s highest court, which in October 2009 agreed to step in and offer $25,000 to the IBF’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program for Indiana (LRAP-IN), as well as creating a matching program for any money raised by the bar foundation up to $170,000.

The IBF expects that it will request reconsideration in July 2011 if interest rates improve, but the IBF does expect some “unavoidable reductions” in personnel because of the economic picture.
 

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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