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Oregon Law Foundation History

In 1981, the Oregon State Bar created the Oregon Law Foundation as the charitable arm of the Bar primarily to raise funds for organizations that help the poor obtain access to legal services. Between 1982 and 1984, the Foundation created an Endowment Fund and raised $150,000 from contributions received from lawyers across the State. The interest earned from the endowment fund was given out as grants to law-related organizations that provided direct delivery of legal services; scholarships to minority law students; and law-related education.
In addition to the Endowment Fund, the Foundation began the IOLTA Program (Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts) on a voluntary basis in 1983. In 1988, the Oregon State Bar members voted to make the IOLTA program mandatory, and the Oregon Supreme Court approved the necessary rule changes, effective May 1, 1989.
Since the IOLTA program became mandatory in 1989, the Oregon Law Foundation has awarded over $29,000,000 for charitable, law related purposes. The existence of IOLTA has allowed the Oregon Law Foundation to fund programs that provide civil legal services to people of lesser means helping to create greater access to justice in Oregon.