May 2010

Dear Virginia State Bar Member:

Last year, a great many of you donated time and money to your local Legal Aid program by volunteering on pro bono panels and making cash donations. Thanks to your generosity, many Virginians in critical need received basic legal assistance.

I am proud that Virginia attorneys contribute so much to those who desperately need legal help and I am now making a special plea for you to contribute over and above what you already do. During the economic downturn, Legal Aid programs already working with limited resources have been overwhelmed with requests for services, especially in unemployment, eviction and foreclosure cases. At the same time, and as a direct result of the economic downturn, Legal Aid funding has dropped dramatically, including local government and private foundation funding. Probably the most significant drop in funding has been from the IOLTA program. With interest rates hovering near zero, income from IOLTA has decreased from a high of $4.6 million in 2007 to a predicted $600,000 this year. The Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, which administers the IOLTA program and state funding and provides statewide administrative oversight for our Legal Aid programs, estimates that it will have to cut grants to our 10 programs operating out of 35 offices statewide by 18% or more on July 1, 2010. If additional funds are not forthcoming, those cuts will increase in the coming fiscal years to the point of threatening the viability of our local programs.

Please help by taking this opportunity to send a voluntary donation to the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia. The contribution form and mailing address are available as a PDF here.

Because LSCV is incorporated as a 501(c)(3), your contribution will be tax deductible. If every member of the Virginia State Bar donates $50 to LSCV, that would generate $1,500,000 and begin to close the $4 million gap created by IOLTA losses. Let me take this opportunity to thank you in advance for helping us make access to the Virginia legal system a reality for the many who might not otherwise obtain it.


Jon Huddleston

Virginia State Bar President

Updated: Jun 29, 2010