The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, in conjunction with the Texas Access to Justice Commission and State Bar of Texas, honored U.S. Senator John Cornyn with the prestigious Harold F. Kleinman Award on Friday, June 24, during the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in San Antonio.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht, the Court's liaison for access to justice issues, presented the award to Sen. Cornyn for his efforts in protecting the federal insurance coverage on IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts), thereby preserving legal services funding for those who otherwise would have no access to our justice system.
Late last year, Sen. Cornyn joined several of his colleagues in the Senate in a bipartisan effort to gain support for an important piece of legislation that corrected an oversight in the Dodd-Frank Act regarding IOLTA accounts. U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett filed H.R. 6398, legislation that continued full FDIC insurance coverage of IOLTA, a primary source of funding for legal aid.
In Texas, the IOLTA program provides critically needed funding for basic civil legal services for poor and low-income Texans. IOLTA funding in Texas has suffered a 73 percent decline since 2007 due to declining interest rates. To be eligible for legal aid, an individual must earn no more than $13,613 a year. For a family of four, the household income cannot exceed $27,938.