- Participating in the IOLTA Program News Conference were, from left to right, WV Bankers Association CEO Joe Ellison, WV State Bar Vice President Gary Nickerson, Jim Martin (Legal Aid of WV), Jennifer Harper (Mountain State Justice), Crystal Harper (WVU Law Student representing Public Interest Advocates), Michele Bush (WV CASA Association), WV Bar Foundation President John Tinney and WV Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin.
IOLTA Program News Conference
On July 2, a news conference was held in the WV Supreme Court to announce the awarding of grants and the continuing success of the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. Grants in the amount of $100,000 were awarded to the two statewide grantees and the five special grantees that are listed in the WV Supreme Court’s Order, which is Rule 1.15 of the WV Rules of Professional Conduct. Since 1990, more than $13 million has been generated by the IOLTA program and provided to WV organizations for free civil legal services for low income citizens. The financial institutions in West Virginia have been overwhelmingly supportive of the IOLTA program. With the current unlimited FDIC insurance coverage on IOLTA accounts, West Virginia’s IOLTA program has suffered significantly less decline in revenues than the other states in the nation during these difficult economic conditions in the past year.
Earlier this year, the Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors approved a grant to the Brazil Study Abroad Program at the WVU College of Law. A number of law students and faculty members, led by Professors Andre Cummings and John Taylor, spent several days in Brazil during which they studied the legal, economic and cultural systems. The grant paid for the expenses of two law students. One of the students, Dale H. Harrison, sent the following message:
I am writing to thank you and the West Virginia Bar Foundation for the scholarship you generously gave me to participate in this past summer’s West Virginia College of Law’s Brazil Study Abroad Program. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I am extremely grateful that I was lucky enough to have been one of the recipients of the scholarship. Because of the scholarship, I was able to have experiences, make friends, and learn things that will stay with me always – I have you, the West Virginia Bar Foundation, and those who also participated in the program to thank for that.
I have attached a link to blog I wrote while in Vila Velha, Brazil. The address is:
The address to the full site – if you do not already have it is:
Again I want to thank you for an opportunity I would not have otherwise had, and I sincerely hope you and the West Virginia Bar Foundation will be able to give others in the years to come the same ability to participate in the study abroad program that you gave me.
Dale H. Harrison
Bar Foundation Finances
At the Bar Foundation Board of Directors quarterly meeting last month, there was the regular review of the financial condition of the organization, as well as consideration of the end of the fiscal year situation. Because of prudent financial decisions by the Board, it authorized the early payment of the last of three WV State Bar loans which had been received over the years, starting in 1989. The three loans totaled more than $180,000 and were paid off in the past 14 months. The Bar Foundation has one bank commercial loan and has made plans to pay it off in 2011, so that the organization can be debt free. The Bar Foundation revenues for the 2008-09 fiscal year were approximately $240,000, with the contributions exceeding the budgeted amount. The expenses were under budget, even with a total of more than $40,000 being distributed in Bar Foundation grants in just the past 13 months and unanticipated expenses for the implementation of the IOLTA Comparability Rule. The annual independent audit will be conducted by the accounting firm with the final document being reviewed by the Board and being available to the general public in the next few months.