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Letters: State legal fund does its job

January 05, 2013

Re "Legal larceny by lawyers," Opinion, Jan. 2

As the former chairwoman of the commission that oversees Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts allocations, I am appalled by Charlotte Allen's denigration of IOLTA, which helps thousands of Californians. The money that goes to the underserved is generated through interest on lawyers' trust fund accounts, which are created as part of an attorney's fiduciary duty to keep clients' monies separate from their own.

The small amounts of interest generated, in the aggregate, amount to substantial sums. The program is managed by a small staff and a dedicated group of volunteer attorneys.

The fact that not every account supports every disbursement is hardly a compelling argument against the program. It is sufficiently broad-based and the dollars used are fungible so that there is surely something to like for everyone. Bravo to a profession that honors its privileged position by helping those less fortunate.

Barbara H. Bergen

Los Angeles

The writer chaired the State Bar of California's Legal Services Trust Fund Commission.

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