On Wednesday, January 27, the MBA will again co-sponsor a Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid to advocate for increased funding for civil legal services throughout the commonwealth. The annual walk begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. in the Great Hall at the Statehouse, 1 Ashburton Place in Boston.
Legal aid funding has taken a disproportionate hit during the recession due to a 63 percent drop in IOLTA revenue (IOLTAs, Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts, are interest-generating accounts set up by attorneys to hold short-term or modest client funds). The MLAC appropriation was also reduced this year to $9.5 million from $11.07 million. Today, requests for help at some legal aid programs are up 25 to 40 percent, while these same programs have been forced to lay off attorneys and paralegals, institute furloughs, and leave vacant positions unfilled. To maintain essential services for low-income residents with the most critical legal needs, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) requests that the commonwealth provide level funding of $9.5 million in FY11.
For more information about the walk, contact Lonnie Powers, MLAC, (617) 367-8544 or Elaine O'Reilly, Governmental Strategies, (617) 523-7808, ext. 124 or go to www.massbar.org.