ILF President’s Message: Setting Course for a New Year
Fonda L. Jovick
Idaho Law Foundation
Happy New Year to you and your loved ones! In July, I began my term as President of the Idaho Law Foundation, taking over for Kari Campos. It’s an honor to serve in this role and I want to thank Kari for setting such a great example of what it means to be a strong leader for the Idaho Law Foundation.
I love this time of year. For me it always feels like the one time of the year when we look back and forward at the same time. We wrap up a period of celebration and set course for the new year ahead of us.
As we take stock of our year at the Foundation, we have a lot to be proud of. We have achieved so much more than I could reasonably share in this article but here are some highlights from our most recent annual report:
- 654 donors gave $146,147 to the Foundation and our programs
- 541 volunteers served 6,770 volunteer hours
- The Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program processed 2,800 requests for pro bono legal services, opened 582 cases, and provided legal services for 516 individuals and families
- Law Related Education hosted a Constitution Day Event attended by 420 people including 118 attorneys, 27 non-attorney community members, and 275 students from 15 schools
When I use the word “we” in the context of Law Foundation accomplishments I include all Idaho attorneys. As you may know, attorneys licensed to practice law in Idaho are also members of the Idaho Law Foundation. Those of us who work for and with the Foundation do what we do both for our legal community and because of our legal community. So, thank you to all of you who continue to support our work.
As lawyers, it’s a key part of our profession to rely on evidence. Working to shine a light on the facts is a staple of what we do. For me, it’s important that I apply those same concepts to other parts of my life, reviewing important data as it relates to the work we do at the Foundation. Here are a couple important statistics to consider:
- The Legal Services Corporation reports that each year 74% of low-income households experience at least one civil legal issue and 92% are not able to access the help they need.
- The Annenberg Public Policy Center found that students who participate in civic education activities have significantly higher understanding of how our government and legal system impact their lives.
I realize that this is fairly dry information, but it’s important to share as a way to point out that the Idaho Law Foundation is one organization that is working to provide solutions to these societal issues. It’s right there in our mission: The Idaho Law Foundation supports the right of all people to live in a peaceful community through increasing access to civil legal services and enhancing public understanding of the law and our legal system.
This mission is always at the forefront of everything we do. It guides what we have done in years past and will frame our work in the year to come.
In 2023, the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program (“IVLP”) will continue their work to close the justice gap by creating access to civil legal services for low-income individuals and families who cannot afford legal representation. IVLP will build on their solid and proven track record for matching pro bono attorneys with people in need of direct legal representation and grow their legal clinic model. They will also work to innovate how they provide services through activities like the new Emeritus Program developed in partnership with the Idaho Supreme Court to engage retired attorneys in meaningful pro bono activities.
In the year to come, Law Related Education (“LRE”) will continue to bolster civic education in Idaho. From mock trial to Constitution Day to our popular 18 in Idaho publication and website, LRE will ensure that Idaho students have access to better understand the law and our legal system. In 2023, LRE has plans to extend our mock trial program to middle school and is partnering with DisAbility Rights Idaho to ensure our materials include information for Idahoans with disabilities.
As it is in every year, I am confident that Law Foundation programs will work diligently to support our mission. And of course, we know that we can rely on you, our Idaho attorneys, as our partners in this important work. To that end, we ask that you consider supporting our programs. You can donate when you fill out your annual licensing form or visit us online at idaholawfoundation.org to donate or sign up to volunteer for one of our programs
As I sit here considering both the past and future of the Idaho Law Foundation, I can share that I am proud to be part of an organization that does such good work in all parts of Idaho. It’s a joy and honor to get to work with the staff, Board, and volunteers who participate in the Foundation. As we set course for the year to come, I invite you to be part of it.
If you have any questions about the Foundation or our programs, contact Carey Shoufler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fonda Jovick is President of the Idaho Law Foundation. She graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law and is a founding member and managing partner at Lake City Law in Coeur d’Alene. Her practice focuses on estate planning, probate, and trust work as well as representing municipalities and governmental entities in addition to maintaining a mediation practice.