Press Releases

City Bar Applauds Governor’s Decision to Rescind Proposal to Divert IOLA Funds

The New York City Bar Association is grateful to Governor Hochul for rescinding the proposal to divert $100 million from the Interest on Lawyer Account (IOLA) Fund intended for civil legal services for the indigent in her 30-day budget amendments, and is proud to have joined with nearly every facet of the legal community to urge this outcome.

“IOLA funding helps fill the justice gap by providing indispensable support for the delivery of civil legal services to New Yorkers most in need,” said Susan J. Kohlmann, President of the New York City Bar Association. “From solo practitioners to managing partners, in-house counsel, pro bono professionals, bar associations, nonprofits and legal services organizations, New York’s entire legal community recognizes the vital importance of keeping this decades-long, non-taxpayer source of legal services funding intact.”

“Over 80 nonprofits with four decades of working expertise using IOLA grants to help stabilize the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in need each year can move forward with restored confidence that government leaders and partners across the state who rallied around this issue understand how valuable and critical this work is,” said Kurt M. Denk, Executive Director of the City Bar Justice Center.

Among the many statements that urged rescinding of the diversion was one organized by the City Bar, which drew over 400 signatures from law firm leaders, managing partners, pro bono professionals, in-house counsel, bar association leaders, small and midsize law firm lawyers, solo practitioners, and nonprofit and legal services lawyers.

Among the scores of groups that opposed the transfer of IOLA funds into the general fund were Advocates for Children of New York,  Center for Elder Law & Justice, City Bar Justice Center, Empire Justice Center, Equal Justice Works, Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Fund for Modern Courts, Her Justice, Hudson Valley Justice Center, JustCause, Justice in Aging, Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Legal Services of Central New York, Long Island Advocacy Center, Monroe County Bar Association, New York City Bar Association, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York Legal Assistance Group, New York Legal Services Coalition, New York State Bar Association, Network of Bar Leaders, New York County Lawyers Association, Oneida County Bar Association, The Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, The Legal Aid Society of Rochester, the New York Community Trust, United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes, and the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Central New York.

The City Bar thanks its members, the wider legal community, and all the civic organizations and civic-minded individuals for mobilizing so effectively on this issue.