If you have not already paid your 2014 Client Security Fund annual assessment you may not have noticed that there is an addition to this year’s statement. Normally the Client Security Fund has nothing to do with the Alabama Law Foundation. They are two completely different things. The Alabama Law Foundation makes grants to groups that provide free civil legal aid to the poor as well awarding the Kids’ Chance and Justice Janie Shores scholarships. The Client Security Fund reimburses clients whose lawyer has misappropriated their money. This year is different though. . Included on your Client Security Fund statement a $50 tax-deductible contribution to the Alabama Law Foundation in the form of an opt-out checkoff. The checkoff was approved by the Alabama State Bar Board of Bar Commissioners to help make up for a 62% decrease in IOLTA revenue since 2008.
The foundation has initiated other fund raising efforts so that other funding sources are 72% of 2014 approved grants. However, the $403,000 the foundation board approved is down from $500,000 in 2013. This forced us to cut grants to the Volunteer Lawyers Programs, Legal Services Alabama and other grantees by 20%. The state’s five Volunteer Lawyers Programs had already received cuts of 40% in Legal Services Corporation funding, making their situation especially dire. Alabama’s Volunteer Lawyers programs and Legal Services combined help over 12,000 Alabama residents with their legal problems each year. They make a difference to working families who do not make much money but need help with a credit problem, family law issues or a contractor who did not provide services promised.
We would greatly appreciate your $50 contribution. Together we can make access to justice a reality.