It’s that Time of Year Again
Don’t Check Out of the Dues Check Off!!
The September dues statement presents bar members with the opportunity to make a $50.00 tax-deductible contribution to the Alabama Law Foundation in the form of an opt-out dues check-off.
The Alabama Law Foundation is in dire need of funds for grants to help low-income residents with civil legal needs. Iolta revenue is down from 1.3 million 6 years ago t0 $410,000 currently. Consequently, grants to organizations providing legal services have gone from $919,000 in 2010 to $398,000 currently.
While revenue has gone down, need has increased. Recent figures give Alabama the 7th highest poverty rate in America. Figures indicate that 84% of civil legal needs of low income households went unmet.
Last year, Legal Services and four volunteer programs working harder and smarter closed over 16,000 cases. The Alabama Law Foundation continues to work with these organizations to find ways to make justice a reality to all Alabama citizens. Tom Oliver, current Alabama Law Foundation President, explains, “with a dues opt out provision approved by the Bar Commisioners, the Law Foundation is hopeful that Alabama lawyers will make this small tax-deductible contribution through their dues payment and together we can have a significant impact on providing monies for the Foundation’s grantee that serve those in need.”
Kids’Chance, the successful and popular program that provides college scholarships for Alabama children whose parent/s have been killed or permanently disabled in a work-related accident, will also benefit from the check off. For every $50 donated, $5 will be used for Kids’ Chance scholarships. Research states that in Alabama, college tuition has increased 153% just in the last decade. Kids’ Chance students are especially vulnerable to the double punch of low income coupled with rising tuition.
Alabama lawyers have always stepped up to help those in need, and the need is now greater than ever. This appeal is directed to every individual member of the Alabama Bar. For individuals associated with a firm, the Alabama Law Foundation would greatly appreciate the law firm making the $50.00 contribution for each member of the firm.
We put our hands over our hearts and say the Pledge of Allegiance: “Liberty and justice for all.” That is what the Alabama Law Foundation’s grants do–provide justice for all. Here is a chance to put hands and hearts to work.
Don’t Check Out of the Dues Check Off!!
Back to School – Alabama Self-Insurers Association Donates $10,000 to Kids’ Chance
The Alabama Self-Insurers Association (ASIA) donated $10,000 to the Kids’ Chance Scholarship Fund at its 2014 annual meeting held August 10-12 at the Hilton Sandestin. ASIA has made Kids’ Chance its main charity for a number of years. Kids’ Chance provides college scholarships to the children of workers injured in work-related accidents. Tuition goes up every year so the foundation is grateful for ASIA’s support. Foundation executive director Tracy Daniel and 2014 scholarship recipient accepted the check from ASIA president Doug Kitchens of Wiley Sanders Truck Lines and Charles Carr of Carr Allison.
Annual Trust Account Certification Gets a Tech Upgrade
This is the sixth year of annual trust account certification and the Alabama Law Foundation has made some changes to make certification easier. First is a date change: Certification will now be from September 1 – October 31, which is when bar members pay dues. Next, the Alabama Law Foundation upgraded to new IOLTA remittance software this year; since the software included a module for trust account certification, we thought it was time to upgrade certification. The process is different than before, but it is very friendly and has a big improvement. Once your or your firm’s account information has been entered, it never has to be entered again unless your bank account information changes.
If your office is located in the state of Alabama, and you purchase an occupational license, you must complete a certification. Only annual certifications submitted between September 1 and October 31 each year are considered to be in compliance. Each bar member will complete his or her own certification each year.
Go to https://certification.alabamalawfoundation.org/Default.aspx. “Certification” and “Entering IOLTA Account Information” are two different processes. Click “Submit Your Certification,” and follow instructions.
If you are the person responsible for inputting IOLTA information, the Alabama Law Foundation creates an administrator password for each sole practitioner and one person at each firm. Only lawyers/firms who have IOLTA accounts need an administrator password. If you need a password, contact the foundation at email@example.com. Enter your or your firm’s IOLTA account information by clicking on the button that says “Add or Change Your Account Information.” Account information only needs to be entered once unless your account information changes in the future. Account information can be updated at any time during the year. Entering account information is NOT certification.
The foundation sent log-in information to firm administrators in early August. Individual lawyers will receive certification reminders at the beginning of September. Links for the certification website will be available from both the Alabama State Bar website and the Alabama Law Foundation website.
Hilaire Armstrong Named 2014 Recipient Of Justice Janie L. Shores Scholarship
The Alabama Law Foundation proudly announces that Hilaire Armstrong has been awarded $5,100 as the 2014 winner of the Justice Janie L. Shores Scholarship. As Allison Skinner, chair of the scholarship committee, explains, “In 2006, the Women’s Section of the Alabama State Bar, along with the Alabama Law Foundation, established Janie L. Shores Scholarship to support a female Alabama resident attending an Alabama law school.” The Justice Janie L. Shores scholarship is named in honor of the first female Alabama Supreme Court Justice, who was elected in 1974.
Hilaire graduated Cum Laude from Samford University in Birmingham, AL with a Bachelor of Arts in a double major: Political Science and Spanish. She is entering her second year at The Cumberland School of Law. Academic accolades include induction into Gamma Sigma Alpha (honor society), and Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Science Honor Society). Hilaire has worked throughout her academic career to help support herself and meet the ever increasing cost of higher education. This summer she served an internship at the Public Defenders’ Office in Birmingham where, among other duties, she made good use of her bilingual skills translating for Hispanic inmates who cannot speak English. In addition to her work hours and academic load, Hilaire finds time to help her community through volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and the First Light Women’s Shelter. Hilaire also teaches at her church. Hilaire expressed her appreciation for the scholarship: “I am honored to be the recipient of such a prestigious scholarship and to be recognized along with such a phenomenal woman.”
Hilaire was recognized at the Maude McLure Kelly Award luncheon held Friday, July 11, 2014 during the Alabama State Bar Annual Meeting. The luncheon is named in honor of Alabama’s first woman lawyer, who continued blazing pathways by becoming the first Woman lawyer in the United States to plead a case before the U.S Supreme Court.
A silent auction, held the evening after the luncheon, raised money for the scholarship. Allison Skinner states, “We appreciate all the donors and supporters of the Women’s Section’s Silent Auction at the Annual State Bar Meeting every year since its inception. Their support of our silent auction over the past six years has allowed us to provide a very meaningful scholarship to fine recipients like this year’s scholarship recipient, Hilaire Armstrong. We recognize the rising cost of tuition and hope this financial support to such a deserving law student encourages female participation in the legal profession while honoring a terrific role model and jurist.”
Alabama’s lawyers work hard every day interpreting, explaining, and applying the law to help create a just society. However, many citizens do not have the resources to pay for legal assistance and find themselves in dire need. Please support the Alabama Law Foundation’s mission of making civil legal aide available to all of Alabama’s citizens by:
Participating in “Dues Check off”
Making an additional donation to the Alabama Law Foundation in honor of a colleague Volunteering to help with legal assistance either with a regional Pro-Bono Organization and/or register for Alabama Legal Answers.
Thank You for Supporting the Alabama Law Foundation