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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. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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