Access To Justice

19
Apr
2017

Access To Justice:

You can improve access to justice by choosing where you bank

Marissa Weldon
Columbus, OH

​Ohio attorneys have an extraordinary opportunity to help achieve meaningful access to justice for all Ohioans. All you have to do is “bank on justice” by choosing a Prime Partner Bank for your interest on lawyer trust accounts (IOLTA) and interest on trust accounts (IOTA).

The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, the single largest state funder of Ohio’s legal aids and administrator of the IOLTA/IOTA program, recognizes Prime Partner Banks for their commitment to ensuring that all Ohioans have a legal voice and access to justice. Prime Partner banks offer interest rates on IOLTA/IOTA at or above the state average; provide and support volunteers and/or board members for Ohio’s legal aids; donate or make in-kind contributions to legal aid; and, promote equal access to justice in Ohio. Prime Partner Banks are committed to ensuring the success of the IOLTA/IOTA program and increased funding for legal aid.

Interest earned on IOLTA and IOTA remains one of the largest and most critical sources of funding for Ohio’s legal aids. With the crash of the economy in 2008 and interest rates slashed to nearly zero, trust account interest revenues declined by almost 90 percent. Despite signs of general economic recovery and gradual rate increases, interest rates remain very low. Therefore, by depositing your IOLTA/IOTA funds in a Prime Partner Bank you are increasing the dollars available to support civil legal aid services in the state and ultimately, increasing access to justice for all Ohioans.

If every lawyer in Ohio chooses a Prime Partner Bank, funding for legal aid in Ohio would increase by roughly 2.5 million dollars annually. As a result, more children would be able to achieve success in school, more victims of domestic violence would be able to live safely and securely at home, more seniors would be able to access critical medical care, and more veterans would be able to receive the benefits they have earned by their service.

Citizens Bank, Congressional Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Heartland Bank and Key Bank are the Foundation’s current Prime Partner financial institutions. Please consider choosing one of these banks for your IOLTA or IOTA account, or talk to your own financial institution about your IOLTA or IOTA account or about becoming a Prime Partner bank. You can always ask your bank for a better rate. Remember, when you bank at a Prime Partner Bank, you “bank on justice.”

For questions about your IOLTA account or more information about the Prime Partner program, go to www.olaf.org or contact the Foundation at primepartner@olaf.org.