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FIRST IOLTA GRANT AWARDS WILL PROVIDE FUNDS FOR LEGAL SERVICES

 FIRST IOLTA GRANT AWARDS WILL PROVIDE FUNDS FOR LEGAL SERVICES
 LANSING, Mich., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifteen Michigan programs selected by the Michigan State Bar Foundation will begin receiving the state's first IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts) grants in February to help support civil legal services to the poor.
 The Michigan State Bar Foundation has awarded IOLTA funds totaling $732,000. Under the foundation's grant criteria, IOLTA funds will reach every county in the state in proportion to the poverty population in each area. Over the past decade, funds for legal services programs for the poor have declined 40 percent nationally and IOLTA programs have helped to address that shortfall.
 "The foundation is very pleased to help provide access to civil legal services for low-income citizens at a time when the need is greater than ever before," said foundation President Judge Michael G. Harrison.
 The Michigan IOLTA program went into effect Oct. 1, 1990, pursuant to an order of the Michigan Supreme Court which assigned IOLTA administration to the foundation. Under IOLTA, the foundation receives interest on certain lawyers' pooled trust accounts that are individually so small in amount or held for such a brief time that it is not possible for the funds to benefit the individual client. The Michigan Supreme Court has allocated 45 percent of the net IOLTA proceeds to support the delivery of civil legal services to the poor. The balance of IOLTA funds will assist improvements in the administration of justice and indigent criminal legal services.
 More than 200 Michigan financial institutions offer IOLTA accounts. "IOLTA is an important partnership between financial institutions and the legal profession," said foundation Executive Director Linda Rexer. "We are especially grateful to the many banks that waive administrative fees which further helps these grant recipients meet the legal needs of poor people."
 The foundation, established in 1947, also awards funds to other law- related public interest projects through its regular grant program. Additional information can be obtained by calling the foundation at 800-968-6723.
 -0- 2/10/92
 /CONTACT: Tom Oren of the State Bar of Michigan, 517-372-9030, Ext. 3024; or Linda Rexer of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, 517-371-6907/ CO: State Bar of Michigan; Michigan State Bar Foundation ST: Michigan IN: SU:


SB -- DE009 -- 8177 02/10/92 09:57 EST
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Date:Feb 10, 1992
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