Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Bar council opposes voluntary dues check-off for legal aid

As stated in this free article from Virginia Lawyers Weekly, the VSB Council is opposing the legislation sought by Legal Aid in Virginia to put a box on the dues statement of Virginia lawyers to allow them to make voluntary contributions to Legal Aid.

The arguments against the check-off box have to do with what kind of precedent is this, does it create a kind of public forum, what are the costs of collecting the money, we don't the legislature to use this as an accuse to give less money to Legal Aid, we do't want the legislature to even think about the money lawyers pay to the Virginia State Bar or they might want to steal it for deficit reduction, and so on.

The response to this is that Virginia's legal aid societies are not the United Way or the benevolence fund, they are the responsibility of the Virginia State Bar by law, and there are no other charitable organizations like them. So, the legislation proposed by Legal Aid would only set a precedent applicable to those charitable entities that provide legal services to the poor under rules and regulations which the Bar itself was required by law to define.

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