PLAN, Inc. applauds Pennsylvania’s Chief Justice, Ronald Castille, for his public plea today to Pennsylvania’s lawyers, encouraging them to support civil legal aid programs by handling pro bono cases for those unable to afford legal representation and by making financial contributions to the legal aid programs that represent low income clients. We also applaud PBA President Forrest Myers for joining with the Chief Justice in making this plea.
The Chief Justice points out that today, only about one in ten low income individuals in need of civil legal aid are able to be represented through legal aid programs and through the pro bono efforts of Pennsylvania attorneys.
The following was released today for immediate publication by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts:
Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ronald D. Castille said today that rules adopted by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 2012 are again paying big dividends in helping provide legal services for low income Pennsylvanians.
A civil procedure rule that took effect July 1, 2012, directed how money left over from lawsuits after the plaintiffs, attorney fees and expenses have been paid is to be distributed.
The purpose of the public hearing was to explore and create awareness of the current state and scope of the unmet need for civil legal services by low-income Pennsylvanians confronting legal problems involving basic human needs.
The Statewide Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), administered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation (PBF) and the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts Board (IOLTA), is ready for its third year of providing assistance to legal aid attorneys.
Qualifying legal aid attorneys have until October 15, 2012, to submit applications and accompanying certification letters for the next cycle of the statewide loan repayment assistance program (LRAP).
The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts has published a News Release stating that Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille today praised the PA Legal Aid Network for the positive performance audit received from the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee yesterday on its oversight of Access to Justice funds.
He also strongly agreed with the audit’s finding that the funding sources for legal aid for the state’s most vulnerable citizens – those who don’t have the financial means to access the courts – should be made permanent.
Click on the title above to read the full blog entry and News Release.
Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ronald D. Castille today praised the PA Legal Aid Network for the positive performance audit received from the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee yesterday on its oversight of Access to Justice funds. He also strongly agreed with the audit’s finding that the funding sources for legal aid for the state’s most vulnerable citizens – those who don’t have the financial means to access the courts – should be made permanent.
In 2002, the legislature passed the Access to Justice Act imposing a $10 fee on filings in state courts with $2 of that fee dedicated to direct funding of civil legal service organizations. That law is scheduled to expire in November 2012 unless reauthorized by the General Assembly.
Another temporary surcharge of $1 on filing fees that goes to fund legal services is slated to expire in January 2012. The LBFC report recommends the General Assembly consider making both fees a permanent source of funds for the legal aid program.
The application period for the PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance Programs will open on September 1, 2016. Lawyers employed by the IOLTA-funded civil legal services organizations providing free legal services to low-income Pennsylvanians have from September 1 through October 17 to apply for student loan repayment assistance from Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), which is administered by the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (PA IOLTA) Board and the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.
In an effort to increase the pool of attorneys available to provide civil legal services to those who cannot afford them, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has increased support for a student debt loan program for attorneys who work for legal aid organizations. The increased funiding for loan assistance will come from an increase in the fees charged out-of-state lawyers to practice in Pennsylvania courts.