Legal Services Now

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

  August 28, 2015 - Issue #98

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Funding News

Arrow Image  Texas Legal Aid Programs Receive First Funding from Amended Legislation on Use of Civil Penalties as Revenue Source - In the last issue of Legal Services Now it was reported that the Texas legislature had amended previously passed legislation on using civil penalties to fund legal aid to include payments for any violation of the Business and Commerce Code. On August 18, 2015, the Texas Attorney General made the first payment under this amended legislation – a total of $2,878,513.20 from a settlement in the case State of Texas v. Angen, Inc. The funds are deposited to the Supreme Court Judicial Fund for payment to the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation, the program that also administers IOLTA in the state. For more information about this legislation, contact Randy Chapman, Executive Director, Texas Legal Services Center or call 512/637-5416.

Arrow Image  Wyoming Legal Aid Programs to Benefit from Increased Pro Hac Vice Fee -
Earlier this month, the Wyoming State Bar Officers and Commissioners agreed to increase the pro hac vice fee from $300 to $500, with the additional $200 going to Equal Justice Wyoming, the organization that distributes the state filing fee funds, for civil legal aid projects and programs. The increase is effective as of September 1, 2015. There now are 13 states that use some or all of their pro hac vice fee revenue to help fund legal aid. For more information about the Wyoming fee, contact Angie Dorsch, Executive Director, Equal Justice Wyoming or call 307/777-8383. For more information about pro hac vice rules that help to fund legal aid in other states, contact Meredith McBurney, Resource Development Consultant, ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives or call 303/329-8091

Arrow Image  Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators Adopt Resolutions in Support of Access to Justice - The Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators, at their joint meeting at the end of July, approved three resolutions that demonstrate the strong commitment of both organizations to legal aid and access to justice:  Resolution 4 – In Support of the Statement of Best Practices for State Funding of Civil Legal Aid Prepared by the ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives; Resolution 5 – Reaffirming the Commitment to Meaningful Access to Justice for All; and Resolution 7 – Reaffirming the Critical Importance of Adequate Funding of the Legal Services Corporation. For more information, contact Meredith McBurney, Resource Development Consultant, ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives or call 303/329-8091.

Pro Bono Developments

Arrow Image  ABA President Paulette Brown Announces “And Justice for All: An ABA Day of Service” - During this year’s National Celebration of Pro Bono (October 25-31, 2015), ABA President Paulette Brown will be launching a signature event, “And Justice for All: An ABA Day of Service.” This initiative encourages lawyers across the country to participate in a pro bono activity on Friday, October 30, 2015, and share news of their service using the hashtag #ABAdayofservice. Participants will be added to the ABA’s Pro Bono Honor Roll with special recognition awarded to organizations providing exceptional pro bono service. To register, visit For more information, contact Nura Maznavi, Assistant Staff Counsel, ABA Center for Pro Bono or call 312-988-5775.

Arrow Image  Nebraska and Iowa Legal Aid Programs Obtain Disaster Response Grants, Engage Private Bar - Nearly $800,000 in Legal Services Corporation (LSC) grants were recently awarded to Legal Aid of Nebraska and Iowa Legal Aid to bolster disaster responsiveness in those states and throughout the Midwest. Both organizations will be working to engage the private bar and other stakeholders to establish statewide preparedness plans to address the legal needs of disaster victims. It is hoped that the plans developed will serve as a model for disaster relief responses for other programs across the country. For more information, contact Dennis Groenboom, Executive Director of Iowa Legal Aid or call 515/243-2980, x1620, or Shirley Peng, Disaster Relief Project Manager, Legal Aid of Nebraska or call 402/435/2161.

Arrow Image  Notice of Intent to Compete Due Today to LSC for Veterans Pro Bono Program Grant Competition - LSC has announced its plan to fund a veteran pro bono program for the 2016 calendar year. It seeks proposals from private attorneys or law firms that seek to establish a non-profit for these purposes, as well as non-profit organizations that provide free legal assistance to veterans or low-income individuals. Under Public Law 102-229, LSC administers the process of awarding grant funds for the Veterans Pro Bono Program for the purpose of furnishing effective, efficient and high quality pro bono legal services to eligible veterans with claims in the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The amount of available funds will be determined through the congressional appropriations process for FY2016. During the past three years, Congress has appropriated approximately $2.5 million each year. Notice of intent to compete is due today, and more information about the application process will be available the week of September 14, 2015. For more information, contact Meredith Horton, Office of Program Performance, Legal Services Corporation or call 202/295-1562.

Washington Update

Washington UpdateWhen Congress returns in September from its recess, one of the many issues it will have to address is funding the government for FY2016, including LSC. To avoid a government shutdown, Congress must either pass an appropriations bill or a Continuing Resolution by September 30, 2015. What action Congress will take by that date is currently unknown.

Previously, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies (CJS) FY2016 Appropriations legislation, which allocated only $300 million for LSC, a 20% reduction from last year’s appropriation of $375 million. Shortly thereafter, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $385 million for LSC in FY2016, a $10 million increase over LSC’s current funding and $85 million more than the House had approved. The bill must still be considered by the full Senate. If the discrepancy between the House and Senate Appropriations Committee’s numbers remains upon vote of the full Senate, a resolution will have to be reached through a conference committee of the two chambers. 

The ABA will continue to advocate for adequate funding for LSC. For more information on the ABA’s efforts, contact Ann Carmichael, Legislative Counsel, ABA Governmental Affairs Office or call 202/662-1767.


August 2015 Legal Services Now Bulletin (PDF version)

For more information about specific items, call 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 Bev Groudine, call 312-988-5771, or fax 312-932-6425.

Updated: 8/28/2015