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Bar News - May 20, 2015

NH Bar Foundation News: Legal Aid Groups Receive $800K from IOLTA


Total grant amount declined 17 percent

The NH Bar Foundation Board of Directors has approved $800,000 in IOLTA grants for the fiscal year 2016, starting June 1, 2015.

At its April 29 meeting, the board reviewed the recommendations of the IOLTA Grants Committee to make grants to six programs for unrestricted operations and programming, and to the Bar Foundation’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), which provides support to staff attorneys employed by IOLTA grantees in repaying law school loans.

IOLTA is the single largest source of non-governmental funding for civil legal services in New Hampshire.

Philip Pettis, a member of the IOLTA Grants Committee, presented the committee’s recommended allocations to the specific organizations to the board. The grants committee, elected by IOLTA-eligible attorneys, reviews grant proposals and recommends funding levels to the board of directors.

The grants committee makes allocations within the overall funding limit set by the board. This year, the total amount allocated for grants was 17 percent less than last year, due to a decline in IOLTA revenues. It is not clear why IOLTA revenue is declining as the economy has been improving; however, the revenue picture will worsen in the next few months as several large banks are reducing the interest they are paying on IOLTA accounts, says Jack Middleton, Bar Foundation board chair.

Meanwhile, two credit unions have joined the IOLTA Leadership Institution list, agreeing to pay 2 percent on IOLTA accounts. Bellwether Community Credit Union was the first to join, followed by Members First Credit Union, both of which are headquartered in Manchester.

Triangle Credit Union and Holy Rosary Credit Union have also begun IOLTA participation. A number of other credit unions have expressed interest and are readying their businesses and marketing procedures to accommodate banking services for attorneys.

Also, at the board meeting, Scott Harris, an attorney at the McLane Firm, was appointed treasurer of the foundation. Harris is the incoming vice president of the New Hampshire Bar Association.

IOLTA Grantees – FY 2016

NH Legal Assistance $488,000
NH Pro Bono Referral $170,000
Loan Repayment $60,000
DRC-NH $40,000
LARC $30,000
Pro Bono DOVE $8,000
NHBA Reduced Fee $4,000
Total $800,000

The following are the organizations receiving FY 16 IOLTA grants through the NH Bar Foundation. The amounts for three organizations with attorneys in the LRAP program may change slightly as the grantees have been given the option of diverting some of their grant to LRAP to provide additional loan repayment aid for their staff members.

IOLTA grants support general program needs and operations.

IOLTA grants are especially important as they are not restricted and can be flexibly used by civil legal aid organizations to address core programming needs as well as for initiatives to respond to emerging problems.

Here is a list of Leadership Circle and Partner Level financial institutions paying above-market interest rates on IOLTA accounts.

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