Bar Foundation Members and Fellows,

The West Virginia Bar Foundation is pleased to provide you with the first issue of the Bar Foundation Brief.

On the first and fifteenth days of each month, you will receive a short, concise email with facts and information about the Bar Foundation, the philanthropic organization for West Virginia’s legal profession and justice system. It will consist of just three brief paragraphs and a photograph.

You will be able to review it in less than 60 seconds.

The Bar Foundation is a leader in improving the administration of justice and the provision of legal services for our citizens here in West Virginia. We want you to continue to support the beneficial programs and services provided by the West Virginia Bar Foundation.

Please give us your comments and ideas.


Riverboat in the port city of Manaus in the Amazon, Brazil

For the past few years, the West Virginia University College of Law has sponsored a study abroad program in Brazil for law students for three weeks in the summer. The program consists of lectures, papers, discussions and course credit on environmental law, international law, legal systems, the rule of law and more as the group spends time in the Amazon, the state of Espirito Santo and the city of Rio de Janeiro. Law School Professors andre cummings and John Taylor lead the students. The photograph above was taken in the port city of Manaus in the Amazon on the first day in Brazil as the group boarded the boat. You can read daily blogs by the students and see more photos at their website— The Bar Foundation provided a grant for two law students, Crystal Bombard of Fairmont and Dale Harrison of Martinsburg, to participate in this excellent educational and cultural experience.


On March 12, 2009, the West Virginia Supreme Court unanimously approved amendments to Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct relating to the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. The revision sets up Comparability Rule provisions as are in effect in 23 other states in the nation. The new Rule, which had an effective date of April 15, 2009, states that banks must provide the same interest rate on IOLTA accounts as are provided for other interest bearing checking accounts at that bank. It is expected that there could be additional IOLTA funds available for free civil legal services for low income citizens once an improvement in the current economic downturn leads to higher interest rates. The Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors and its IOLTA Advisory Committee will be utilizing a group with expertise in Comparability Rules in other states to initiate this effort in the coming weeks. The Supreme Court’s Order is located on its website at: or on the Bar Foundation’s website: under IOLTA on the toolbar.


The West Virginia Bar Foundation will hold its Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 11, 2009, at 1:30 PM at the State Bar Center, 2006 Kanawha Blvd., East, Charleston, WV 25311. The agenda for the meeting includes the reading of the Minutes of the 2008 Annual Meeting, the activities of the Bar Foundation, the financial report, the Nominating Committee report and Other Business.