NCLEJ Strongly Opposes Governor Hochul’s Proposed $55 million IOLA Fund Diversion

For Immediate Release: April 19, 2024

New York, NY – The National Center for Law and Economic Justice announces their opposition to Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed attempt to divert $55 million from the Interest on Lawyer Account (IOLA) Fund of New York State. NCLEJ is an IOLA Fund grantee.

“We strongly oppose this latest attempt by Governor Kathy Hochul to divert IOLA funding,” said Dennis Parker, Executive Director at NCLEJ. “NCLEJ and many other organizations rely on the IOLA Fund to continue our work protecting the interests of low-income New Yorkers. The diversion of funding away from IOLA’s mission could set a disastrous precedent and take away legal resources from vulnerable New Yorkers who need it most.”

IOLA is a dedicated fund for delivering legal services to low-income New Yorkers. The Governor’s proposed diversion would be the first time in history that IOLA funds have been diverted to any other purpose. The Governor’s previous attempt in early 2024 to transfer $100 million from IOLA to the New York State General Fund was met by strong opposition by the entire legal community – including the New York Legal Services Coalition, dozens of law firms, and 60 large law firm and corporate legal department leaders – and resulted in the Governor rescinding the item from her Budget on February 15. 

IOLA supports 81 nonprofit legal organizations across New York State. In the last year, IOLA grantees closed over 307,000 cases benefiting nearly 640,000 New Yorkers.

The National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) advances racial and economic justice for low-income families, individuals, and communities across the country through ground-breaking impact litigation, policy advocacy, and support for grassroots organizing. Founded in 1965, NCLEJ protects access to critical benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, and childcare; empowers low-wage workers, advocates for people with disabilities; and fights unlawful debt collection.