Where Does the Money Go?
Frequently, the IOLTA Committee is asked by bankers where the interest generated form IOLTA accounts “goes”. In creating the IOLTA program in 1985, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court established specific guidelines for the use of IOLTA funds. The two categories of acceptable uses of IOLTA interest are:
- Making improvements in the administration of justice; and
- Delivering civil legal services to low-income clients.
The following is a sample of some of the over 100 programs funded with IOLTA money:
Provides legal assistance for obtaining protection against abuse, for Portuguese immigrants and low-income persons in the Cape Cod area.
Berkshire County Consumer Advocates, Inc.
Provides consumers and tenants advice and support regarding their rights. Advocates inform consumers on how to assert their rights when they have been violated, and intervene and mediate with all parties involved in disputes with businesses and landlords.
Catholic Social Services.
Increases access to legal services for immigrant victims of domestic violence and other crimes covered in visa programs. Funds will be used to represent more than 100 clients and their children in VAWA, Visa, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status applications and proceedings.
South Coastal Counties Legal Services.
Represents students in the development of Individual Education Development Plans and hearings before the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, including those instances in which school districts are not accommodating special education students' needs. The project also aims to affect school systems that push students into low-expectations education placements, because they are perceived as difficult to educate.
Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.
Women’s Support Services continue to provide legal advocacy to women seeking protection through the District and Probate Court systems.
Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts
Provides Boston's highest risk children with access to educational advocacy services. Funds will also be used to provide technical assistance and training to attorneys, bar advocates, youth workers, and parents. This is a collaborative project with the Youth Advocacy Project of Roxbury.
Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center
Provides legal advocacy, direct representation, and support to low-income victims of domestic violence within Northeast Essex County and within the area of family law. Services are provided by both staff attorneys and a pro bono attorney panel.
Franklin County Bar Association Advocates
The Advocates for Children program provides representation for children from low-income families in non-criminal matters. Advocates for Women provides low-income battered women and their children with representation and advocacy.
Massachusetts Justice Project
Provides 150 low-income families in Holyoke and the surrounding communities with advice, intake, brief services, and representation to insure that children and families have access to sufficient income, housing, utilities, safety, and other basic necessities that have an impact on their health. Legal clinics are conducted at the Holyoke Health Center.
YWCA of Western Massachusetts.
The Legal Access Program provides legal advice and representation to low-income battered women, pregnant and parenting teens, female ex-offenders and sexual assault survivors in issues ranging from family law to housing.
Hampshire Community Action Commission
The Housing Services Program uses pro bono attorneys, staff and volunteer mediators to serve low and moderate income tenants at risk of eviction and homelessness through counseling, negotiation, and mediation with landlords.
Center for Public Representation
Provides representation to individuals with brain injuries in nursing facilities to facilitate their discharge, as appropriate, and Medicaid-funded integrated community services. Funds will also be used to work on a systemic reform initiative that will create a new system of Medicaid-funded community options for persons with brain injuries.
Community Legal Services and Counseling Center
The Pro Bono and Legal Staff Services Project provides direct legal services, community legal education, and reform advocacy in areas of family law, homelessness prevention, and government benefits. The Domestic Violence and Child Support Project helps victims of domestic violence and their children secure long-term protection from abuse, financial security, healthcare, custody and safe visitation.
Employment Options, Inc.
Provides legal representation to low-income parents with mental illness who are at risk of losing custody and all contact with their children. This project is a collaboration between Employment Options and the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee.
Legal Services for Cape Cod and Islands
LSCCI provides civil legal services to indigent persons living in Nantucket County.
Bar Association of Norfolk County
The Evening Legal Clinics program provides pro bono legal advice to low-income persons during monthly clinics at a Norfolk County courthouse. The Family Court Pro Bono Program at the Dedham Probate and Family Court represents pro se litigants on legal issues of divorce, custody, modification, visitation rights, and contempt.
Homeowner Options for MA Elders
Provides intervention services for elders facing displacement due to property taxes (tax & title and foreclosure), mortgage foreclosure, loan scams & predatory loans, overwhelming healthcare expenses, debts, and home repair costs. Advocacy and representation from attorneys is provided in addition to financial counseling and financial options by HOME.
South Coastal Counties Legal Services
Funds support the general operation of SMLAC in Plymouth County. The Immigration Law Project represents low-income individuals in cases related to their immigration status, including application for citizenship, adjustment of immigration status, work authorization, or representation of abused spouses when divorce or legal separation impacts their immigration status. The Special education Project intervenes in individual cases to ensure that children receive an education appropriate for their special needs.
Boston Medical Center-Medical Legal Partnership for Children
Program aims to improve child health through a combination of medical and legal services. The program provides training on legal issues for staff and clients, and collaboration with the medical community to discover systemic changes to ensure and advocate for better health for children.
Case Myrna Vazquez, Inc.
Provides legal representation, information and referral, legal counseling, court accompaniment, outreach, and education to shelter guests, community clients, and hotline callers. Funds will also be used to continue participation in the AmeriCorps program, which will place volunteers at legal services agencies throughout the state.
Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts
The Hon. Harry Zarrow Homeless Advocacy Fellowship provides funding of a legal services attorney to work with the homeless in Worcester County along with pro bono attorneys and paralegals from the Worcester County bar Association.
Massachusetts Justice Project. The Volunteer Lawyer Service Program provides free civil legal assistance to low-income clients chiefly through referrals to family law attorneys who provide pro bono representation.
Disability Law Center
Provides legal representation to low-income children and adults with mental and physical disabilities and provides technical assistance, support, and back-up to local legal services programs.
Center for Law and Education
Provides training, research, and co-counseling to parents, students, and their advocates in the area of special education.