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Judy Garlow, longtime legal services advocate, dies

Judy Garlow, the long-serving director of the State Bar’s Legal Services Trust Fund Program, died last month of brain cancer. She was 63.

Judy Garlow

A leader on countless legal services boards and commissions, Ms. Garlow joined the IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts) program in its nascent stage and became its director in 1993. She later was instrumental in the passage of legislation that created California’s Equal Access Fund in 1999.

Ms. Garlow also served as president of the National Association of IOLTA programs and was a member of the American Bar Association’s IOLTA Commission.

IOLTA programs were created after federal funding for legal services was cut in the 1980s. They pool interest on client money held by lawyers for short periods that is distributed among programs that offer free or low-cost legal help to low-income people.

State Bar Executive Director Judy Johnson called Ms. Garlow “a pioneer in legal services access” and credited her with helping “galvanize support in the legal community for the successful defense of IOLTA funding when it was challenged in the courts.”

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