Approved by the Maine Supreme Court in 1986, Maine's IOLTA program provides the greatest portion of the Bar Foundation's annual income. Certain client trust funds, which would not otherwise earn distributive interest, are deposited in a special pooled account. The interest proceeds from that account represent IOLTA revenue. The Bar Foundation manages Maine's IOLTA Program, which, since its inception has generated millions of dollars to ensure that people of limited means have access to the legal system; elders, immigrants, abused women and children, and others get help with pressing legal needs; and school children and the public learn about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Specifically, IOLTA funds the Volunteer Lawyers Project, Maine's pro bono initiative, with remaining funds allocated on a formula basis to the five principal organizations providing civil legal services in Maine: Maine Law School's Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Legal Services for the Elderly, Maine Equal Justice Partners and Pine Tree Legal Services. Historically, 20% of IOLTA has been reserved for discretionary grants, issued to other organizations working to increase access to justice for Maine people.