The Justice Report

July 2015


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Pro Bono Opportunities
Click here to read the latest Arkansas Pro Bono Partnership case alerts and learn about opportunities to lend your expertise to assist vulnerable Arkansans in need of legal help.
2014 Annual Report
Our 2014 Annual Report is now out! Click here to see a list of donors and volunteers and to read about how your support helps ensure that all Arkansans have access to the civil justice system.
 
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Draft Rule on Unclaimed and and Unidentifiable IOLTA Funds Released

The Arkansas Supreme Court has released for public comment a draft rule that would establish clear guidelines for handling unclaimed and unidentifiable client funds. The rule applies to attorneys, law firms, and estates of deceased attorneys, who would be required to use due diligence to locate or identify the rightful owner of the funds. If such efforts are not fruitful, the funds are remitted to the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation, which will use revenues generated to make grants to support civil legal aid. The rule is promulgated in accordance with the Court's authority to oversee administration of the IOLTA Program.
 

For more information about the proposed rule, as well as how to submit comments, click here

Veteran Legal Aid Attorney Receives Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award
Center for Arkansas Legal Services Managing Attorney Dustin Duke is the 2015 recipient of the Arkansas Bar Foundation's Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award. The award, which was presented at a June 10, 2015 banquet, is given each year in recognition of commitment to and participation in equal justice program for the poor, including pro bono efforts through legal services programs.

During his 14 years of practice, Duke has served clients through both the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas. In his 11 years with the Center, he has handled more than 3,800 cases. 
Commission Seeks Input for Proposals on Unbundling, Informational Assistance
The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission is seeking feedback from the bench and bar on a draft proposal that its Self-Represented Litigant Task Force has developed in response to significant growth in the number of Arkansans who are representing themselves in non-fee-generating civil cases. The proposal includes draft rule changes that the Commission plans to submit to the Arkansas Supreme Court after incorporating feedback from key stakeholders.

Proposed changes include rules that will expand guidance for attorneys who wish to provide limited scope legal services and arm judges and their staff with tools for providing informational assistance to self-represented litigants if they wish to do so. Other states that have implemented similar provisions have found that their courts are less burdened with deficient pleadings and unprepared parties, and that private attorneys are afforded new business opportunities from previously unprofitable work.

For more information about the proposal and how you can provide input, click here.
Clarendon Clinic Hosts Commission Meeting


An innovative collaboration between Mid-Delta Health Systems, Legal Aid of Arkansas, and Little Rock-based Friday, Eldredge & Clark has been a highly effective way to help Arkansans with health issues that intersect with legal problems, according to representatives of partner organizations who spoke at an April 9 meeting of the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission in Clarendon.

 

Legal Aid of Arkansas staff attorney Kevin De Liban led a discussion about the medical-legal partnership (MLP) model and its potential to allow health care providers and legal aid to have a greater impact than they would have working alone. "Life expectancy in this part of the state is almost ten years shorter than in other regions," he said. "This is an issue of justice."
 

For more information about Arkansas medical-legal partnerships, click here.

About Us
Nearly one in four Arkansans qualify to receive free civil legal services, yet nearly half of the 30,000 Arkansans who call for help each year are turned away because our two nonprofit legal aid providers lack the resources to serve them.

 

Our mission is to coordinate statewide efforts to ensure that all Arkansans have a fair opportunity to be heard in court in civil matters. We work with a variety of other partners who share our vision, and together, we undertake innovative projects to accomplish this mission. 

 

This newsletter provides periodic updates on the work of Arkansas Access to Justice, legal aid, our pro bono partners, and the Arkansas IOLTA Program.

 

Thank you for your interest in our work.

 

Sincerely,


 


 


Amy Dunn Johnson

Executive Director, Arkansas Access to Justice