Connecticut Bar Foundation
The May Member Spotlight shines on the Connecticut Bar Foundation.
The Connecticut Bar Foundation was established in 1952 and works to ensure that the state’s legal system is available to all regardless of power or resources. To promote equal access to justice, the CBF:
- Administers grant funding to support access to legal aid services for those who cannot afford private counsel,
- Funds scholarships, based on financial need, for Connecticut students attending law schools in the state, and
- Develops and oversees programs to enhance the understanding and improvement of the law and legal institutions.
About the Organization:
The Connecticut Bar Foundation supports various different programs and legal services grants to help support the less fortunate members of their community. To fund legal services, the CBF manages the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts and the Interest on Trust Accounts (IOLTA/IOTA) programs, the Judicial Branch Grants-in-Aid grant program, and the Court Fees Grants-in-Aid program.
The Connecticut Bar Foundation also has the James W. Cooper Fellows. Current James W. Cooper Fellows nominate outstanding Connecticut lawyers, judges, and teachers of law to become a James W. Cooper Fellow. Nominees who accept their invitation to become a Fellow commit to a pledge of at least $2,500 to the program. The Fellows are currently working on several programs and projects such as the Constance Baker Motley Speaker Series on Racial Inequality, which is an ongoing forum for the Connecticut legal community to explore issues of racial inequality and systemic racism. You can read more about the James W. Fellows and see the full list of projects they are working on here.
Grants and Charitable Activities:
As mentioned above, the Connecticut Bar Foundation offers several Legal Services Grants to provide services for the poor in Connecticut. Since 1987, the CBF has awarded more than $336,969,208 in grants and law school scholarships. Fund that are received and any interest generated from IOLTA and IOTA are used to support nonprofit corporations whose principal purpose is providing legal services to the poor in Connecticut. Revenue received from the Judicial Branch is used to support nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal services to low-income people, and distributes these funds through the Judicial Branch Grants-in-Aid and Court Fee Grants-in-Aid programs to current IOLTA grantees. You can read more about the CBF’s Legal Services Grants here.
The Fellows have also created several funds to honor colleagues that have made significant contributions to the practice of law in Connecticut. For example, they created the Connecticut Innocence Fund which was created to assist exonerees who have been recently released from prison based on proof of actual innocence of the crimes for which they were imprisoned. You can read more about all the funds offered here.
Along with their Legal Services Grant, the Connecticut Bar Foundation uses funding from the IOLTA and IOTA to provide grants to the three law schools in Connecticut, which provide law school scholarships to qualified students based on financial need.
Staff and Leadership:
The Connecticut Bar Foundation Leadership Team consists of 4 Officers, 18 Board of Directors, 6 Ex-Officio Directors, 4 Directors Emeriti, and 10 Staff. You can see their whole leadership team here.