The Tennessee Bar Foundation has awarded Legal Aid of East Tennessee a $129,467 grant from their IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts) program to be used to provide critical civil legal services to the abused, impoverished and elderly during 2011.
“We appreciate the Tennessee Bar Foundation and every lawyer who participates in the IOLTA program. These funds allow us to serve hundreds of families, which we would otherwise be forced to turn away. These funds literally save lives,” said David Yoder, LAET’s Executive Director.
IOLTA programs were created in every state to respond to extreme federal budget cuts for civil legal assistance to low-income families, which occurred in the 1980s. The Tennessee Bar Foundation provides funding to legal aid programs for direct client services as well as to other organizations that seek to improve the administration of justice and to students in the form of scholarships.
LAET is the only link to civil legal assistance for many low-income people who face challenging, often overwhelming civil legal matters. LAET closed more than 7,000 cases in 2010. From obtaining Orders of Protection for victims of domestic violence to preventing families from becoming homeless, the efforts of LAET ensure that thousands of low-income families in our community have access to economic and emotional stability. LAET serves 26 counties in East Tennessee through six office locations. With offices in Knoxville, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Cleveland and Chattanooga, LAET staff provides civil legal assistance to thousands of low-income East Tennessee residents every year.
Even with this generous grant award, there are thousands more that need LAET’s help. It is estimated that more than 300,000 persons in the LAET service area are eligible for services, yet limited resources allow LAET to serve less than 5% of the legal needs of this population. To learn more about LAET visit their website www.laet.org, or call 865-637-0484.