Legal Services Now

Joint bulletin produced by the Division for Bar Services and the Division for Legal Services

November 23, 2010 - Issue #76

Legal Services Now Homepage

Funding News
Arrow Image  $3.62 Million Cy Pres Award Benefits Over 100 Legal Aid Programs Nationwide – In September, civil legal aid organizations around the country received $3.62 million in unclaimed funds from a nationwide class-action settlement involving a rate increase on life insurance policies. Half of the funds went to five organizations in Illinois (the case was heard in Cook County); the other $1.8 million was distributed to LSC-funded programs in 49 states and 2 territories. Recent cy pres awards have enabled a number of programs around the country to avoid reducing staff and services to clients during this difficult economic time. For more information about this cy pres award, contact , Executive Director, Chicago Bar Foundation, or call 312/209-1205.
Arrow Image  State Funding Advocates Provide Final Reports on 2010 and Make Plans for 2011 – The state by state results were very mixed for 2010, due largely to the budget problems faced by state legislatures. There were major funding increases for legal services in two states (a filing fee surcharge increase in Maryland, reported in the June issue of Legal Services Now; a new filing fee surcharge in Wyoming, reported in April) and there were smaller increases in four others. However, funding was reduced in eight states, and advocates in most states had to work very hard to stay even. For 2011, advocates expect to have even more difficult battles to maintain their state funding levels, with almost every state facing a serious budget deficit. For more information on state funding for civil legal aid, contact , Consultant, ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives, or call 303/329-8091.
Pro Bono News
Arrow Image  National Celebration Honors Pro Bono Work of America’s Lawyers – The second annual National Celebration of Pro Bono, sponsored by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, was held throughout the country during the designated week of October 24-31. As with the inaugural Celebration, there were over 600 events held this year in almost every state and territory. Over two-thirds of these were direct service clinics, CLE and training programs, or recruitment events, all of which will result in increased services to those who cannot otherwise afford to obtain legal assistance. The third annual Celebration will be held next year from October 23-29. For more information about the National Celebration of Pro Bono visit www.celebrateprobono.org or contact , Counsel, ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, or call 312/988-5768.
Arrow Image  D.C. Develops Senior Lawyers Project – The District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program have launched a Senior Lawyers Project to infuse the talent and expertise of experienced law firm attorneys into the legal services network. Ten leading law firms have signed on to be “Founding Partners” of the project by agreeing to institutionalize a senior lawyers program at their firms. The initiative grew out of a meeting of law firm and legal services leaders convened by the Commission in January 2010 to respond to possible economy-driven changes in the law firm business model and their impact on pro bono and financial support for legal services organizations. For additional information, contact , Assistant Director for Community Economic Development, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, or call 202/737-4700, ext. 3376.
Hot Off the Press
Book Image  New Publications on Salaries for Public Interest Attorneys and Law Firm Associates – Recent research from the National Association of Law Placement’s (NALP) 2010 Public Sector and Public Interest Attorney Salary Survey reveals modest increases, if any at all, of salary medians among public interest attorneys since 2008. The survey documents that, in general, practice experience brings with it relatively modest salary increases, particularly within civil legal services organizations. NALP’s annual Associate Salary Survey, which the Public Sector and Public Interest Attorney Salary Survey is a companion piece, indicates that associate salaries at law firms also remained largely flat between 2009 and 2010, although median salaries in some markets declined. The two reports provide a basis for comparing the stark gap between private sector and public interest salaries. The 2010 Public Sector and Public Interest Attorney Salary Report, including salaries by region and population size and additional information on selected benefits, and the 2010 Associate Salary Survey are available from NALP through its online bookstore at www.nalp.org/bookstore.   For further information, contact , Director of Public Service Initiatives, or call 202/296-0057.
Washington Update

As of press time, Congress had not acted on the pending FY2011 appropriations bills that include funding for the Legal Services Corporation.  Instead, the government has been operating under a Continuing Resolution that is set to expire on December 3rd.  As a result, LSC is operating at its FY2010 funding level of $420 million. Regarding proposed FY 2011 funding for LSC, earlier this year the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up the FY2011 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which included $430 for the Legal Services Corporation. This amount represents a $10 million increase in funding. In addition, the bill removes the restriction on the use of non-LSC funds. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies has also marked-up its FY2011 bill. That bill included $440 million for LSC and removed the restriction on the filing of class actions. The Obama Administration has requested $435 million for LSC in FY2011 and the removal of the restrictions on both the use of non-LSC funds and the filing of class actions.

For more information, contact , Legislative Counsel, ABA Governmental Affairs Office, or call 202/662-1767.

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: 11/23/2010

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