- Receiving a WV Bar Foundation grant recently was the Harrison County Child Advocacy Center, represented by its Executive Director, Irene Malfregeot, on the left, with the grant being presented by WVBF Board of Directors member, Tracey Weber, of Weston.
BAR FOUNDATION GRANTS
As the philanthropic organization for WV’s legal profession and justice system, the Bar Foundation, through its Grants Committee and its Board of Directors, has a strong commitment to improving the administration of justice and the provision of legal services to our citizens. The recent grant to the Harrison County Child Advocacy Center will be used to continue its important forensic interview program by paying for camera and recording equipment, as well as for recordable DVD’s to be used in place of a child’s testimony in court proceedings. As stated by Irene Malfregeot, the Center’s Executive Director, —“We are now able to provide a more effective, coordinated response to the child victims of sexual abuse. In the short time since we received the grant funding, 6 child victims of abuse have received forensic interviews at the Child Advocacy Center. We are incredibly grateful for both the grant funds and support the WV Bar Foundation has shown the Harrison County Child Advocacy Center.”
With the implementation of the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program’s Comparability Rule, information has been provided to the more than 80 banks which do business in West Virginia and to the 4,700 active practicing lawyers in the State. The Comparability Rule, which was approved by the WV Supreme Court with an effective date of April 15, 2009 as an amendment to Rule 1.15 of the WV Rules of Professional Conduct, states that IOLTA accounts shall receive the same interest rate as any similar interest bearing business checking account. Each bank must provide written compliance that it has a comparable rate and each active lawyer in WV must verify that either they have an IOLTA account for their client funds or that they do not receive client funds and do not have an IOLTA account. The information from the banks, due on July 15, and from the lawyers, due on July 31, will be compiled so that it can be used for IOLTA program planning in the future. West Virginia is one of only 23 states with IOLTA Comparability Rules. The current difficult economic situation has caused a reduction of approximately 30% in IOLTA funds in the past year in WV, compared to decreases of 60-70% or more in most other states, which has lead to reductions in civil legal services programs availability and assistance in those states.
LONG RANGE PLANNING
The WV Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors has appointed a Long Range Planning Committee to make proposals for the organization’s future activities and endeavors. The Committee, consisting of President John Tinney (Charleston), Vice President Joe Long (Bluefield) and Board members Janet Preston (Parsons) and Steve Crislip (Charleston), will review short term and longer term actions which could be undertaken by the organization. The Board of Directors will receive these recommendations at its meetings in the future and will approve various goals and objectives for the Bar Foundation to pursue. As the Bar Foundation has expanded its vision and enhanced its services and activities, the Board made the decision that more time, effort and opportunity were needed for the necessary planning process.