Furnishing financial support for legal services providers is the best and most simple method of helping. With assistance from the Louisiana Bar Foundation, the committee established the LBF Access to Justice Fund in 1998. The fund provides a mechanism for the statewide acceptance of tax-deductible donations by the Louisiana Bar Foundation for the benefit of Louisiana providers. The LBF ATJ Fund is the repository for monies from various sources. In the past, monies collected from the Louisiana State Bar Association's Dues Check-Off and Cy Pres awards have been deposited into the fund.
Direct Contributions Made to the LBF Access to Justice Fund or a Named Legal Services Provider
The Louisiana Bar Foundation has created various funding mechanisms that allow you to donate to the LBF Access to Justice Fund or a specifically named provider. For more information on these options, please contact:
Laura C. Sewell
The Louisiana Bar Foundation
909 Poydras St., Ste. 1550,
New Orleans LA 70112
LSBA Contributions Check-Off
If you are an attorney, you can make a contribution to the LBF Access to Justice Fund on your dues statement. The Louisiana State Bar Association has included a check-off box to facilitate attorneys making contributions. By simply checking the box on the dues statements and submitting a separate check, made payable to the LBF Access to Justice Fund attorneys can assist those organizations providing legal services to the poor. These donations have been distributed to direct service providers and have funded the ATJ Grants which provide small grants to organizations working together on civil legal projects.
Cy Pres Awards
The Cy Pres doctrine is a legal theory which allows courts to put residual class actions funds to their "next best use" to support the aggregate, indirect, prospective benefit of class members. In recent years courts throughout the country have used this legal theory to award funds to programs that provide free legal services to low-income persons. They have found legal services programs to be appropriate recipients of these funds. Even in cases where the relationship between the class and recipient has been more tenuous, courts and litigators have agreed on donations to groups based on the public interest work they perform.
The LBF Access to Justice Fund can be the recipient of Cy Pres Awards that support specified legal services providers or all providers statewide. By directing cy pres funds to LBF Access to Justice Fund- which provides support and grants to legal service providers - the cy pres goal can be accomplished.
Judges and attorneys can support providers by considering awards to the LBF Access to Justice Fund in their judgments or consent agreements. For more information on how you can do this, contact the Access to Justice Program.