IOLTA Stats

Since the first year IOLTA grant funds were available, 1988, $15,889,000 has been granted from the Tennessee Bar Foundation (TBF). That first year, grant awards totaled $73,000. The 2009 grants " $1,400,365 " are being paid to 55 organizations whose main offices are located in 25 Tennessee cities.

Here's how it works: After applications for IOLTA grants are submitted, a committee of representatives of 11 practicing bar organizations makes recommendations as to recipients and amounts for final determination by the TBF Board of Trustees. Since 1987, more than 100 people have served on that committee. They have been from large and small law firms, urban and rural areas, have included law firm partners and associates, solo practitioners, state and federal judges, public defenders, prosecutors, members of the legislature, corporate counsel, litigators and transactional lawyers.

"They each serve a three-year term, so they end up with an excellent knowledge of the law-related service providers in the state as well as the process of grantmaking," which, says TBF Executive Director Barri Bernstein, "is an art not a science."