The Florida Bar Trial Lawyers Section has made its third major gift to The Florida Bar Foundation in three years with a $50,000 contribution in February that follows $75,000 gifts in 2012 and 2013.
“We know that what the Foundation does is essential to our judicial system and access to courts for low-income individuals and families,” said Ted Eastmoore, Trial Lawyers Section chair.
The section initiated the series of gifts when its leadership realized the impact on the state’s legal aid programs of declining revenue from Florida’s Interest on Trust Accounts Program. In the last five years, an era marked by near-zero interest rates, IOTA revenue has averaged about $6 million a year, which is just 14 percent of the $43 million a year it averaged from 2003 to 2008.
Eastmoore said the section’s contributions represent “our attempt to help bridge the gap” during the IOTA revenue slump.
Foundation President John Patterson said the Trial Lawyers Section’s early and continued support has generated a ripple effect.
“The Trial Lawyers Section not only contributed $200,000 from their own reserves over the last three years, but as the first to respond in such a big way to the legal aid funding crisis, they encouraged other Bar sections and divisions, who have followed with major gifts of their own,” Patterson said. “We couldn’t be more grateful for their generosity and leadership.”