Kansas Bar Foundation now accepting applications for IOLTA grants
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Posted by: Beth Warrington
he Kansas Bar Foundation is now accepting grant proposals for the 2015 Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts program. IOLTA is an idea that originated in British, Canadian and Australian jurisdictions in the 1960s, and in the United States, it was pioneered in Florida and now exists in every state across the country. The Kansas IOLTA program was established in 1984 as a voluntary program and is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Without IOLTA, nominal or short-term client funds held in non-interest bearing, pooled checking accounts benefit neither the client nor the lawyer. With IOLTA, lawyers and law firms pool these same nominal or short-term funds into one interest-bearing account and help support:
- Legal services to the disadvantaged;
- Public education about the law; and
- Administration of justice programs and other programs as approved by the Supreme Court.
Kansas banks may remit interest on these pooled accounts to the Kansas Bar Foundation. Each year, the KBF IOLTA Committee selects organizations to receive IOLTA grants. In the last few years, approximately $80,000 per year has been distributed to organizations in Kansas that provide civil legal services to low-income Kansans.
The foundation will also be funding several grants from funds made possible by a direct grant of residual funds from a class action lawsuit. These funds support activities and programs that promote access to the civil justice system for low-income residents in the state of Kansas.
To learn more about IOLTA or to access the grant application, visit http://www.ksbar.org/grants.
The following organizations received grants in 2014:
- Kansas Legal Services Inc. ($43,139)
To provide advice and representation for low-income persons in Kansas for general legal, family law, consumer and housing issues and for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
- National Institute for Trial Advocacy ($8,776.50)
To fund "Advocacy Skills Training,” a three-day workshop that will focus on the needs of specialized public service attorneys and serve practitioners who cannot travel to larger program destinations due to time and budget constraints.
- CASA of Kansas ($8,000)
To fund volunteer supervision staff positions and staff positions recruit, screen, train and supervise CASA volunteers so that they may serve child in need of care cases.
- KBA Young Lawyer Section Mock Trial Program ($5,000)
To advance the educational goals of students and the broader understanding of and respect for the law through structured and fairly administered mock trials.
- Western Professionals/Immigration Professionals ($5,000)
To offer a reduced fee program to indigent migrants who qualify for either Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or a U-visa. The program will cover all of the individual’s attorney fees, assuming they meet all the qualifications.
- YWCA Crisis Center-Wichita ($2,084)
To fund three free legal clinics for survivors of domestic violence, as well as support for the volunteer training program.
2014 Class Action Residual Fund Grants
- Douglas County Legal Aid ($10,000)
To provide no-cost legal services to residents of Douglas County who are financially disadvantaged.
- KBA Law-Related Education Committee ($10,000)
To coordinate programs that focus on providing Kansas residents with free resources and information about law-related matters of interest to educators, students and the public.
- University of Kansas School of Law-Pro Bono Project ($5,570)
To develop a program that will match Kansas citizens seeking pro bono legal aid with licensed Kansas attorneys willing to provide such aid. The program will have separate sections for clients who are military veterans and law enforcement officers.
- Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence ($3,000)
To host two days of training, featuring one day for Kansas attorneys and the other for advocates. The training will focus on domestic violence and sexual assault and how these issues affect custody decisions.
- Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas ($2,000)
To provide pro bono services to refugees resettled by the Catholic Charities’ Refugee and Migrant Services Program and individuals from the community at large who are predominantly Hispanic.