Throughout the month of November the Texas Access to Justice Foundation recognizes Prime Partner Bank Month, a month dedicated to recognizing banks that have made a strong commitment to fighting for access to justice and encouraging attorneys to bank at Prime Partner Banks.
Almost thirty years ago the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Program was created as a way to help provide funding for legal aid organizations in Texas. The program allows attorneys to hold client funds in an interest-bearing account. The interest accrued from that account is then put towards state funding for legal aid.
But as interest rates have fallen dramatically, the revenue generated from the program has declined. Today more than 5.7 million Texans qualify for legal aid, but many of them are turned away to face legal issues on their own solely due to the lack of funding. Many of these Texans are faced with devastating situations including domestic violence, homelessness, and abusive employers.
To help generate additional funds through the IOLTA Program, TAJF developed the Prime Partner Bank initiative. Prime Partner Banks voluntarily pay higher interest rates on IOLTA accounts, thereby increasing funding for access to justice initiatives. Today more than 70 Texas banks participate in the program.
Throughout November, TAJF will be recognizing Prime Partner Banks and individuals and firms dedicated to having their IOLTA accounts at these institutions.
There are many things that Texas attorneys can do to help the program:
- Make sure that you are banking with a Prime Partner Bank. A complete list is available here.
- Thank Prime Partner banks in your area for their help in fighting for access to justice
- Encourage local banks to join the program. A list of banks eligible for the program is available here.
For more information on the program, visit the Texas Access to Justice Foundation website.