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

June 15, 2010 - Issue #74

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Funding News
Arrow Image  Maryland Legislation Increases Court Filing Fees to Fund Legal Services – Although legal services advocates in many states are fighting difficult battles to maintain funding in this challenging year, Maryland became the second state to increase civil court filing fees to help fund legal services. (See the April 2010 edition of Legal Services NOW for information on the increase in Wyoming.) Projections indicate that the surcharge will generate approximately $6.1 million annually to address the funding crisis caused by historically low interest rates on IOLTA accounts.  The legislation contains a three year sunset provision. For more information, contact , Executive Director, Maryland Legal Services Corporation, or call 410/576-9494.
Arrow Image  Legal Aid Programs in Maryland are Recipients of Cy Pres Funds – The use of class action residuals to help fund legal services appears to be growing. In the January 2010 issue of Legal Services NOW , there was a report on the distribution of cy pres funds to 50 legal aid entities in California.  Now, 13 legal aid programs in Maryland are sharing a total of $2.4 million in residuals. Lawyers who filed the case requested that the residuals be distributed to groups that would use the funds for consumer protection work, in keeping with the purpose of the original lawsuit. For more information about states that are utilizing cy pres awards to fund legal services, contact , Resource Development Consultant, ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives, or call 303/329-8091.
Arrow Image  Supreme Court of Delaware Adopts IOLTA Revisions to Increase Revenue – On June 10, 2010, the Supreme Court of Delaware entered an order adopting mandatory IOLTA and IOLTA rate comparability. These revisions will become effective on November 1, 2010. Delaware becomes the 43rd jurisdiction to require that all practicing lawyers participate in IOLTA, and the 33rd to adopt rate comparability. The latter revenue enhancement strategy requires that lawyers place their IOLTA accounts only in a financial institution that pays those accounts the highest interest rate or dividend generally available at the institution to other customers when IOLTA accounts meet the same minimum balance or other qualifications. For more information about these IOLTA revenue enhancement strategies and others, contact , Staff Counsel, ABA Commission on IOLTA or call 312/988-5771.
Pro Bono News
Arrow Image  Hawaii Adopts Rule on Judicial Conduct and Pro Bono – Hawaii has amended Rule 3.7(a) of the Hawaii Revised Code of Judicial Conduct, effective July 1, 2010. According to Hawaii's new rule, a judge may participate in activities sponsored by organizations or governmental entities concerned with the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice including participating in pro bono activities to improve the law, the legal system or the legal profession. Comment 6 to the rule provides examples of such pro bono activity. In addition, under Hawaii's rule 3.7(b), a judge may encourage lawyers to provide pro bono publico legal services. For more information, contact Associate Justice , Hawaii Supreme Court.
Arrow Image  Organizations Issue Reports on Deferred Associates and Public Service – Several recent reports reveal positive findings concerning how well the deferred associates’ public service placements are faring. These reports include the City Bar Justice Center’s Deferred Associate Law Extern Support Project , NALP’s Perspectives on Fall 2009 Law Student Recruiting , and the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Deferred Associates and Public  Interest Placements: Survey Report and Preliminary Assessment. Findings indicate that host organizations are pleased with the associates’ substantive contributions; law firm managers value the pro bono collaborations that have emerged; and associates are reaping benefits in skills, development and exposure to public interest practice. For more information on deferred associates, contact , Director of Public Service Initiatives, NALP, or call 202/835-1001.
Hot On the Web
Computer Image  Shaping the Future of Justice: Effective Recruitment and Retention of Civil Legal Aid Attorneys – This report, released by the Legal Aid Association of California, examines the challenges that legal aid programs confront in trying to hire and retain attorneys. The main factors cited as obstacles are financial pressures, including low salaries and high educational debt loads. The report indicates that the median entry level salary for civil legal aid attorneys in California was $46,000 in June 2009, with half of the attorneys surveyed indicating that they think they will leave their current employment in the next three years. Download the report.
Washington Update

ABA Day in Washington, April 20-22, 2010, once again organized bar leaders to educate their Members of Congress about the need for increased funding for LSC and bipartisan reauthorization legislation. More than 250 ABA and state/local bar leaders participated in this year’s program.

On April 27, the House Judiciary Subcommittee held another hearing on H.R 3764, the LSC reauthorization bill. The NCBP-sponsored bar association letter, signed by the presidents of all state bars and two territories plus the four major bars of color and ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm, was included in the hearing record.  The House Judiciary Committee and Senate HELP Committee are expected to conduct additional hearings and mark-ups on the respective LSC reauthorization bills. There is no date-certain for appropriations markups to occur. For more information, contact , Director, Grassroots Operations/Legislative Counsel or call 202/662-1764.

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 , call 312-988-5771, or fax 312-988-5483.
Updated: 06/15/2010

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