The NITA Foundation is fortunate to have received generous support, for the second year in a row, from the Kansas Bar Foundation – Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts Program (IOLTA) to fund a program for Kansas lawyers who work in public service.
The funding supported an October 2012 public service program for lawyers practicing in western Kansas entitled ‘Basic Advocacy Skills’. This three-day NITA program focused on the needs of specialized public service attorneys and served practitioners who could not travel to larger program destinations due to time and budget constraints. The program was offered tuition-free, and provided all materials for those attending.
The trial skills course was open to participants whose practice involves providing counsel to under-served communities or who do government work in Kansas. Those invited to participate as students included public defenders, legal services attorneys, and government lawyers practicing in Kansas.
In these days of limited budgets, reduced training funds, and scarce travel budgets, this opportunity offered in Kansas made a powerful difference in supporting attorneys who work on the front lines to represent those who desperately need a voice in our justice system. This program not only permitted qualified attorneys to benefit from a NITA training in their own backyard, but meant that clients and the public benefited from the enhanced advocacy of these dedicated attorneys.
About The Kansas Bar Foundation – IOLTA Program:
The Kansas Bar Foundation is a charitable, non-profit corporation affiliated with the Kansas Bar Association (KBA). The Foundation’s Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA) Program was established as a funding source for law-related charitable public service projects and was approved by the Kansas Supreme Court in April of 1984. In its petition to the Supreme Court, the Foundation emphasized funding programs which improved the provision of civil legal services to the low-income, provided law-related education, improved the administration of justice, and other programs as approved by the Court. The primary funding was envisioned as providing additional services to low-income Kansans.
The IOLTA program collects interest from lawyers’ client trust accounts. Before the creation of the IOLTA program these funds were held in non-interest-bearing accounts. The client funds deposited in these accounts were either so small or were held for short amounts of time. Any interest generated was less than the expenses to set up a separate account or to separate out, keep appropriate tax records, and dispense interest to each client. When a number of these small or short term funds are pooled together, they produce significant amounts of revenue for law-related charitable public service projects. Participation in the Foundation’s IOLTA program is voluntary on the part of both Kansas lawyers and financial institutions. For more information please visit www.ksbar.org.