Statement of New York City Bar Association President Susan J. Kohlmann Opposing Governor’s Proposal to Divert IOLA Funds
The Governor’s proposal to divert $100 million in IOLA funds to the General Budget is extremely misguided and ill-advised. This remarkable program, whereby interest on lawyers’ accounts is used exclusively to deliver critical civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers in areas affecting life’s essentials, should be heralded and preserved, not undercut. Lawyers across the state recognize, trust and expect that their use of IOLA escrow accounts will result in contributions to the legal services landscape. I wholly endorse the January 25, 2024 testimony of Kurt M. Denk, Executive Director of the City Bar Justice Center, which underscores in great detail the importance of IOLA funding to civil legal services providers and the many reasons the Governor’s proposal should be rejected.