Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent DefendantsDivision for Legal Services
Legal Services Now
Joint bulletin produced by the Division for Bar Services and the Division for Legal Services

July 19, 2005 - Issue #49

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Funding News
Arrow Image  Legislative Funding for Legal Services Increases in Many States - As of July 13th, advocates from 16 states have reported good news about funding from their state legislatures. Arkansas and Connecticut have received their first ever state legislative funding. Colorado and Kentucky have had funds restored that were lost during the 2004 legislative sessions. Increases in appropriations have been obtained in Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Texas and Washington. There have also been increases in court fees and fines for legal services programs in Maine, Nevada, Ohio and Montana. It is possible that there will be even more positive news in the next month or so, as other states' legislative sessions conclude. Look for totals on legal services funding received through state legislation this year in the next issue of Legal Services NOW. For more information, email , Consultant, Project to Expand Resources for Legal Services (PERLS) or call 303-329-8091.
Arrow Image  State Bar of Georgia Approves Dues Opt-Out to Benefit Georgia Legal Services Program - The Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia, at its meeting in early April, voted to convert the current $150 add-on provision for Georgia Legal Services Program on the bar dues statement to opt-out. It is anticipated that this action will significantly increase lawyer contributions to GLSP. With add-ons, the attorney must add the suggested amount to the total paid. With opt-out, the amount is already added into the total bar dues, and a lawyer who chooses not to pay the donation or decides to contribute a different amount can eliminate or change it. The State Bar founded GLSP in the early 1970s and retains a strong commitment to helping it serve the legal needs of the poor. For more information, email , Pro Bono Director, State Bar of Georgia, or call 404-527-8762.
Arrow Image  Utah Converts to Mandatory IOLTA - On June 27, 2005, the Utah Supreme Court signed an order that became effective immediately converting the state's IOLTA program from opt-out to mandatory participation for all attorneys who handle client funds. Utah became the 31st state to adopt mandatory IOLTA. This move is expected to generate additional funding for the civil legal aid and law-related education programs supported by the Utah Bar Foundation. Nineteen jurisdictions maintain opt-out IOLTA programs, while participation is voluntary in two others. For more information email , Counsel, ABA Commission on IOLTA, or call 312-988-5771.
Pro Bono News
Arrow Image  Mississippi Implements Mandatory Pro Bono Reporting - In March 2005, Mississippi became the fourth state to implement mandatory pro bono reporting. The Supreme Court of Mississippi adopted a new Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct that requires attorneys to annually report the number of hours they dedicate to pro bono legal services, as well as whether this obligation was satisfied through a collective plan by members of a firm or through a financial contribution. The new Rule 6.1 states that the pro bono obligation is aspirational in nature and that failure to do pro bono service is not a basis for discipline. An attorney may satisfy the pro bono obligation by providing 20 hours annually of pro bono legal services to the poor or to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental or educational organizations for the purpose of giving legal counsel to the poor, or by making an annual contribution of $200 to support legal services to the poor through legal aid organizations. For more information, email , Executive Director, Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project, or call 601-948-4476.
Arrow Image  Colorado Adopts CLE Credit for Pro Bono Work - The Colorado Supreme Court added a new Rule 260.8 to the Rules of Civil Procedure permitting lawyers to receive CLE credit for approved pro bono representation of indigent clients. Lawyers may earn a maximum of nine units of CLE credit during each three-year reporting period for the provision of free legal services to clients who meet the Legal Services Corporation poverty guidelines or who fall slightly above those guidelines but can still not afford legal representation. Lawyers receive one unit of CLE credit for every five hours of direct pro bono service provided. Additionally, a lawyer who serves as a mentor to another lawyer may receive one unit of CLE credit per completed matter; mentoring a law student doing pro bono work gives a lawyer two units of CLE credit for each completed matter. For more information, email , Director of Public and Legal Services, Colorado Bar Association, or call 303-824-5305.
Arrow Image  ABA Section of Legal Education Seeks Comments on Proposed Interpretation of Law Student Pro Bono Activities - In February 2005, the American Bar Association adopted revised Standard 302(b)(2) of the ABA Standards for the Approval of Law Schools, which provides that "a law school shall offer substantial opportunities for . . . student participation in pro bono activities…." The Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar recently distributed for comment proposed new Interpretation 302-10 regarding this revised standard. While it states that law school pro bono programs should involve law related services, it also makes clear that non-law related activities may "count" towards fulfilling the pro bono requirement. The Council is soliciting comments on the proposed interpretation by letter, e-mail, or at a hearing that will be held during the ABA Annual Meeting at 10:00 am on Saturday, August 6, in the Moulin Rouge Room of the Fairmont Hotel, 200 North Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL. For more information, visit the ABA Section of Legal Education web site or email , Assistant Staff Counsel, ABA Center for Pro Bono, or call 312-988-5775.
Washington Update

On June 23, 2005, the Senate Appropriations Committee met to mark up the FY2006 Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill, which funds the Legal Services Corporation. The committee recommended $324.5 million for LSC, which is $6.2 million less than LSC's FY2005 budget and the recently passed House appropriation. During floor debate on the bill, which is expected to occur after the August recess, a bipartisan group of senators led by Tom Harkin (D-IA) is expected to offer an amendment to restore LSC funding and to increase it by as much as $33 million. For more information email , Director, Grassroots Operations/Legislative Counsel, or call 202-628-1764.

For more information about specific items, contact the contact person listed for that item. To contribute items to future issues of LEGAL SERVICES NOW, or for general information about this bulletin, contact at 312-988-5771,or fax 312-988-5483.
Updated: 9/28/2006

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