CHARLESTON – The West Virginia State Bar has received $329,000 from a U.S. Department of Justice settlement with Bank of America that will help legal services organizations in the state provide foreclosure-prevention assistance to indigent citizens and/or support community redevelopment legal services.
Anne Werum Lambright, chair of the State Bar's Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Committee, said the DOJ settlement with the bank involved residential mortgage-backed securities and other conduct related to the housing/financial crisis several years ago.
“The West Virginia State Bar takes very seriously its responsibility to support our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights to have legal representation,” Lambright said. “The financial crisis several years ago created problems for many families. These funds can help provide counsel for those who face foreclosure today.
"In addition, organizations involved in community redevelopment can request funds that will support legal work for their projects.”
Applicants for the grants must qualify as a legal services organization but do not have to be current grantees.
Lambright said the State Bar’s IOLTA Committee is accepting requests for proposals from legal services organizations for use of the funds. Requests for proposals are available at www.wvbar.org/RFP. Applications must be received by midnight April 30. Applications may be submitted via USPS, email or fax.
The mailing address is IOLTA Legal Assistance Grants, Attn Anita Casey, 2000 Deitrick Blvd, Charleston, WV 25311. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the fax number is 304-558-2467.
“Members of the West Virginia State Bar understand the importance of representing citizens who find themselves in need of legal services but cannot afford to defend their interests in court and other legal proceedings,” Lambright said. “The funds also can support local groups that encounter legal costs as they work on economic development projects.”