Growing Number of Texas Lawyers are Banking on Justice
Monday, March 10, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas - The Prime Partner program, which provides funds for vulnerable Texans seeking justice, is gaining momentum. Prime Partner banks agree to pay higher interest on lawyers' trust accounts to support legal-aid assistance for the poor, explained Betty Balli Torres, executive director, Texas Access to Justice Foundation.
"Prime Partner banks agree to pay 1 percent on IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts) accounts so they can increase funding for civil legal aid in this state. The 'I Bank on Justice' component is really lawyers and law firms that move their accounts into Prime Partner banks in order to support legal aid," Torres explained.
"I Bank on Justice" has the support of the State Bar of Texas and recently hit a record monthly high for new accounts opened. Across the state, 65 banks have thus far joined the Prime Partner program.
One of them is PlainsCapital Bank Westlake, Austin. President Jon Levy said it is part of their greater mission.
"At PlainsCapital, we have some core values," Levy said, "and they include supporting our employees, supporting our customers and supporting our community. We felt like this program was one of the best ways that we could honor those core values."
Those who want to support the program can move their funds to a participating bank or, Torres noted, they can have a conversation with their current bank about joining.
"We would encourage people who support legal aid, who support this program, to visit with their bank and talk to them about becoming a Prime Partner. In fact, many of the Prime Partner banks that participate now are because a customer talked to them, explained the importance of the program to them," Torres said, "and it made a difference."
Torres noted that the need for funding legal aid programs is great, because millions in Texas qualify, but about 80 percent never get that help because there is not enough money.
Information from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation about choosing a Prime Partner bank is available at www.teajf.org/attorneys/choose_a_prime_partner.aspx, and information about the "I Bank on Justice" campaign is at www.teajf.org/i-bank-on-justice-campaign
get more stories like this via email
Parents' rights groups are praising a plan to extend paid sick leave for many California workers, which is now on a fast track to pass. Gov…
Changes to a student-loan program for public-service employees is transforming the lives of Montanans who had their debts forgiven. In October…
Health and Wellness
When the Pueblo Community Health Center opened its 14,000 square-foot facility in 2003, Pueblo's east side, home to mostly minority residents…
Minnesota is building on efforts to meet the needs of its growing population of older adults, now becoming the 10th state to join AARP's network of …
The past year saw American workers reassessing their jobs. However, those shifts did not result in higher union membership at the national level…
This summer, a key initiative to boost school meal access during the pandemic will expire. In North Dakota, those working at the community level say …
New research suggests Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction event, on par with the one that ended the age of dinosaurs, already is under way. Noah Greenwald…
As local municipalities consider ways to use an influx of funds from the American Rescue Plan, some communities see it as an opportunity to support …