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Legal Aid

A recent change to the rule governing how lawyers deal with unidentified funds in their pooled client trust accounts has generated over $1,000,000 for legal aid in Illinois.

In March 2015, the Supreme Court of Illinois amended Rule 1.15 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct to require Illinois lawyers to remit unidentified funds in these client trust accounts to the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois after a 12-month due diligence process to determine who owns the funds. Since the new rule went into effect on July 1, 2015, the Lawyers Trust Fund (LTF) has received $1,007,829.21.

“For the 1.8 million Illinoisans living in poverty, legal aid is the only realistic option when confronted with a serious legal problem,” said LTF executive director Mark Marquardt. “Unfortunately, legal aid groups are facing serious financial headwinds in terms of both state and federal funding, which make this new source of revenue even more critical.”

Gov. Quinn will announce his budget plan for fiscal year 2011 on Wednesday, March 10. For the first time in state history, the governor's office has launched a website to gather public comment on what to include in the budget. This is a chance to let the Gov. know the importance of civil legal aid in our communities. The Governor's office is tracking the issues so your voice will be heard. The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation's appropriation for civil legal aid was cut 50% this year - from $3.5 million to $1.75 million. Eight long-standing grantees were cut, no new programs were funded and the awarded grants were reduced 20%-79% compared to 2009. This means 37,000 fewer people will have their civil legal needs met at a time when legal aid is needed most. Click here to post your comment to the Governor's budget website
The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, which advocates for and distributes the state apporpriation for civil legal aid, faces a 50 percent cut in its appropriation if the budget bill passed by the General Assembly on May 31 becomes law. The appropriation would drop from $3.5 million to $1.75 million. In 2008, the $3.5 million appropriation helped over 68,000 low-income families address their legal needs. The General Assembly is going into a special session on Tuesday, June 23. The IEJF asks that voters call their state senators and state representatives and tell them that legal aid is important. Click here for more information.