College Columns Dec 2014 Issue - Page 7

James L. Baillie, Chair,

Pro Bono Committee

of up to $10,000 each to 35 bankruptcy pro bono programs in 21 states in the total amount of $326,812.00. Following the procedures that have evolved over recent years, the Committee received grant requests totaling $403,429.00 responding to the July 1, 2014 deadline. Each grant request was circulated to all the 34 members of the Committee and assigned to one of the members of the Pro Bono Committee for review. Each reviewer then presented the request and their recommendation to the full Committee, which then considered the requests during seven calls or meetings between August 21, 2014 and November 17, 2014.

The most typical grantee is a local bankruptcy pro bono program formed by or supported by the bankruptcy bar and judges in that locale. These bankruptcy pro bono programs usually operate in conjunction with larger local pro bono or legal aid organizations. Eligible clients receive pro bono services by bankruptcy lawyers. The grants are usually used to cover administrative costs, training programs, computers or software or other support. The services provided to clients usually include some combination of community education, brief advice, assistance to pro se filers, full case representation, or representation at reaffirmation hearings or representation in adversary proceedings.

A smaller number of grants went to programs operated by or in conjunction with law schools often in conjunction with clinical programs. In these programs, some of the assistance is provided by law students. Occasionally grants go to financial literacy programs (i.e. CARE) or programs involved in appellate advocacy or other activities supportive of bankruptcy pro bono.

This year, our staff (Carole McNamara primarily), building on earlier work by Lynne Riley and Judge Laurel Myerson Isicoff, organized materials generated by our grantees with our funding – guides or handbooks for clients or volunteers, training programs for volunteers, translations, recruiting materials and information on program organization that can be used by other programs all around the country. These can be found on our website here. These help each program build on the efforts and achievement of others and avoid having to “reinvent the wheel”. This magnifies the impact of our grants. The Committee has other activities in process which may be covered in subsequent reports.

We believe that the Foundation is the largest provider of funding for bankruptcy pro bono in the country. A large part of our grant funding comes from the College, from dues or initiation fees. A large part also comes directly from the annual contributions that individual Fellows make to the Foundation. Thus individually we often contribute twice, first with our dollars and second with our feet, as the volunteers in these same programs.

Pro Bono Committee Awards 2014 Grants Across the U.S.

The Pro Bono Committee of the Foundation has recently completed its work and awarded grants