WASHINGTON, D.C., -- Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-25th) received the American Bar Association's Congressional Award on April 12 for his sponsorship of legislation to protect funds that help low-income families who need legal assistance.
The legislation, H.R. 6398, requires the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to fully insure Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts. The interest generated from these accounts provides funding for civil legal services for people near or below the poverty line, including the working poor, low-income veterans and persons with disabilities.
IOLTA is one of the largest funding sources for free legal services in the country, supporting legal aid offices and pro bono programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.
"Protecting IOLTA is a zero-cost, common sense way to help struggling Texas families Ã¯Â¿Â½ Rep. Doggett's support was crucial," said Stephen N. Zack, president of the ABA.
"When I served as a Texas Supreme Court Justice, I saw the benefits of IOLTAs in ensuring access to justice for those who otherwise might be unable to secure it. I am grateful to the American Bar Association for helping protect these interest-bearing trust accounts and the legal services for those who need it mostÃ¯Â¿Â½ including veterans who have served honorably, domestic violence victims, and person with disabilities," said Rep. Doggett.
This bill was signed into law Dec. 29, 2010.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.