This sentiment isn’t unique to the Legal Services however it is time to take a moment to see the effect of the economy on legal service provision in South Carolina.
The South Carolina Bar Foundation released its Winter 2009 Brief and the following information is taken from there. To view the brief online, click here.
In July 2007: Monthly IOLTA revenues at all time high; currently they are 80% lower than peak. Last year, 96% of Foundation support came from IOLTA.
In the current grant cycle (July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009), originally the SC Bar Foundation awarded $5.4 million to legal service providers. Mid-year cuts resulted in $4.0 million in awards, a reduction of $1.4 million. Due to the unprecedented loss sustained by grantees, the SC Bar Foundation decided to utilize $1.5 million in reserve funds to prevent further reductions to current grantees.
At this time the future prediction for total IOLTA revenues is less than $2.0 million. The effect of this continuing drop in revenues – grantees are and will continue to reduce work forces, some may have to close.
What can you do?
Please consider donating to the South Carolina Bar Foundation which is a 501(c)3 Public Charity. The SC Bar Foundation is the charitable arm of the South Carolina Bar.
On Sunday, Commissioner Thomas C. Keith of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina wrote a letter to the Editor at The State newspaper. In the letter, he notes that in this demoralizing financial climate. it’s easy to forget the troubles other suffer and focus on our own financial situation. Instead, please consider donating what you can to assist organizations who assist vulnerable people and those already living in poverty.
Great message Tom!
Many attorneys learned this doctrine while still in law school, but without regular reminders, we tend to forget it exists.
According to http://dictionary.law.com, cy pres doctrine originates from the French meaning “as close as possible.” Wikipedia notes that as “as near as possible” or “as near as may be.”
The concept allows for distribution of funds in class actions where it is not possible to determine actual damages, when plaintiffs fail to collect the award or when fund recipients cannot be located. Under the cy pres doctrine, courts order these unclaimed funds to be put to the next best use for the benefit of the class and may approve a charitable donation to an entity whose work indirectly benefits members of the class.
The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission’s purpose is to improve access to justice for all South Carolinians. The South Carolina Bar Foundation
funds the Commission and other entities engaged in the pursuit of justice for all South Carolinians regardless of income. The Foundation’s mission is to fund the advancement of justice by improving access, education and accountability.
In order to ensure that the pursuit of civil legal justice continues in South Carolina, please consider the South Carolina Bar Foundation for a cy pres award. Rest assured that justice will be served!