Gillett, Robert 2016

Last modified: 2021-02-21 01:20
Storyteller: Gillett, Robert
Interviewer: Houseman, Alan
Date of interview: 2016-11-11
Length: 0:52:20

Topics: American Bar Association (ABA), Civil legal aid: Funding, Civil legal aid: General, Civil legal aid: State Funding, LSC: Restrictions, and NLADA
Geo, US: MI
Lists:
Medium: Video
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NEJL I.D.: NEJL-009.120
Georgetown status: Video upon request
Georgetown notes:
Link to NEJL page: http://aspace.ll.georgetown.edu/public/repositories/2/archival_objects/341
NEJL AV link:

Video status:
Video notes:

Transcript link: Transcript
Transcript status: DeleteMeSoon
Transcript notes:

Consortium status: Gtn info copied
Consortium notes:

Excerpt:

Longtime director of the Michigan Advocacy Program, parent of Legal Services of South Central Michigan. since 1983. Previously with the Center for Urban Law and Housing and Michigan Legal Services.



Bibliographic citation:

Abstract: Interview conducted at the National Legal Aid & Defender Association annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Description

Full text of transcript

Consortium for the National Equal Justice Library
Oral History Collection
Interview with
Robert Gillett
Conducted by Alan Houseman
Nov. 11, 2016

Alan Houseman:
This is an oral history of Robert Gillett, whom I will call Bob Gillett, taken on Friday, November 11, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Bob is the director of the Michigan Advocacy Program, which we’ll discuss in a second. The interviewer is Alan Houseman for the National Equal Justice Library.

Alan Houseman:
Bob, lets begin with a brief overview of where you grew up, where you went to college and law school and what jobs you’ve held and then we’ll come back and talk at greater length about your work.

Robert Gillett:
Okay. I grew up in Lakewood, Ohio, which is one of those internally surrounded suburbs of Cleveland. I went through the Catholic school system there and went to high school at St. Ignatius, which is the region-wide college prep school. Went from there to Kenyon College in Ohio. Took about five years off to do various non-legal things and then started law school at the University of Michigan.

Robert Gillett:
When I was in law school I started clerking at the Center for Urban Law and Housing, a program that Alan is familiar with. I was hired there upon graduation. Worked there until 1981 when as part of the Reagan LSC budget cuts I was laid off. I continued to work unpaid for a while until I was hired by Michigan Legal Services. Worked at Michigan Legal Services until 1983 when I was hired as the director of what is now the Michigan Advocacy Program, and I’ve been there ever since.

Alan Houseman:
What factors, what influences led you to go in to legal aid?

Robert Gillett:
When I was in high school in Cleveland — we say this in the family — I fell in with bad company and became actively involved in the civil rights movement there. Cleveland’s a very segregated city. Through a youth civil rights group there were black people in my home and on my street that had never seen black people before.

Robert Gillett:
I spent time in their homes in the Glenville area, which was not the worst slum in Cleveland but which is a 100% black area of Cleveland. I really came out of high school as a leftist political outlier. Then in college it was an easy transition in to the anti-war movement. In college, I left college for six weeks to volunteer full-time on the Carl Stokes campaign. Then because the same people did the Stokes campaign as did the Metzenbaum senate campaign, I was paid staff for the first Metzenbaum senate campaign. So I came through undergrad as someone who was very active politically.

Robert Gillett:
Then the work I did between college and law school was primarily education. I worked in California at a free school and then worked in Ann Arbor at a special ed school. Then I decided that I wanted to do more and could do more. I applied to law school and started law school really already committed to public interest work.

Alan Houseman:
Okay. Well lets talk a little bit about your work at Center for Urban Law and Housing, and Michigan Legal Services and then we’ll go into your law work at the Michigan Advocacy Project. What would you say were your major accomplishments at your work before you arrived as the director of the Michigan Advocacy Project?

Robert Gillett:
When I was in law school my goal was to do civil rights litigation. As I look at my career, there is my career as a litigator and my career as a legal aid director, which moves you in to broader community issues, and then organizational work both within the bar and within the legal services community. The Center for Urban Law and Housing was a six lawyer office with some great litigators in that office. I was hired to start the welfare division there. But because I was the newest person in the office I got to work with Mike Barnhard on housing cases. I got to work with Judith Magid on prison cases. Then I started to identify my own cases. But I consider myself a poverty law generalist. You know that I’ve done litigation in family law and in welfare law and was really a federal litigation, federal procedure person.

Alan Houseman:
That was true at Michigan Legal Services too?

Robert Gillett:
Yeah. The Center for Urban Law and Housing was the law reform and support unit for Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services, and then Michigan Legal Services did that same work on a statewide basis. It was chaos in the community at that time. So one advantage to me of moving to Michigan Legal Services — other than that I was unemployed of course — was that I got to bring my whole caseload from the Center for Urban Law and Housing over to MLS with me.

Alan Houseman:
What led you to become the director of what’s now the Michigan Advocacy Project?

Robert Gillett:
Well, so Michigan Legal Services was not, in my opinion, the most effective organization at the time that I was there. I lived in Ann Arbor before I applied to law school. I went to law school in Ann Arbor. My wife is a physician in Ann Arbor. So I’d been commuting in from Ann Arbor to Detroit for seven years at that point. I’d applied for the directorship at Michigan Legal Services. I was not selected. Then, shortly after, the director position at Legal Services of Southeastern Michigan came open and I applied for it. For me it was to move up a level. I felt like the Reagan cuts had not been handled well at any of the Detroit programs, and it was an opportunity for me to make my own mistakes. It also stopped me from commuting and let me practice law in the community that I lived in.

Alan Houseman:
Describe, so we know what we’re dealing with here, the Michigan Advocacy Program. Then I want to get into your relationships with University of Michigan law school. Then I’m going to come back and ask you more about some about your accomplishments.

Robert Gillett:
We have a really complicated organizational structure. On this afternoon’s panel I brought a map of it. But the way that I think of us is three divisions. First, there’s an LSC field program that has five offices across 13 counties. We call that Legal Services of South Central Michigan.

Robert Gillett:
Then there’s a statewide LSC-funded farm worker program, Farm Worker Legal Services. That’s a second division. Then there’s a third division, which is not LSC-restricted, which we refer to as “the LLC” and that is six statewide programs: the Michigan Poverty Law Program, which is the state support program; the Immigrant Rights Center; the Elder Justice Initiative; and Michigan Legal Help, which runs the statewide technology stuff. We just started a new crime victims legal assistance program, which funnels two big VOCA grants. Then we manage the Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Project, which provides services in foreclosure cases across the state.

Alan Houseman:
This structure is unique in many ways. How did this evolve? I understand the migrant part, but how did the law school, the third part, really evolve here?

Robert Gillett:
Well, so we were a four-county field program — four county, not 13 county — until the LSC restrictions of 1996. At that time two things happened. Michigan Legal Services did more and more Detroit-based litigation and less and less state support. So we had assumed state support out of LSSCM. Ann Routt was the chair of the Family Law Taskforce. Steve Gray was the chair of the Welfare Law Taskforce. I was the chair of the Housing Taskforce. When LSC defunded state support, the bar foundation bid out state support and said, “We’d like programs to apply to do state support.” We made that application.

Robert Gillett:
Prior to that, we had very close relationships with the law school. It started out with the clinics in the late 70s. A student group called the Family Law Project became the primary provider of domestic violence services in the community. We worked very closely with them. In the late 80s or early 90s the law school said, “We can’t have 100 law students out doing these high risk violence cases without supervision. If we give you a grant will you manage them?” So we ended up merging with the Family Law Project. We created a doorway for partnerships with the law school. Those continued to grow. By the time we get to the bar foundation’s RFP to do state support, we were very comfortable with the law school and they were comfortable with us.

Robert Gillett:
Initially we filed separate applications. In some ways I think of my career is like “the 10 things I lost, thank God.” The bar foundation said, “It doesn’t make sense to have you competing against each other. We’re not going to make a decision, we’d like you to work on a joint proposal.” So we did, and that started the Poverty Law Program. That started at the beginning of ’97. At that same time the 1626 restrictions came into effect-

Alan Houseman:
The restrictions on aliens.

Robert Gillett:
Yes, on aliens, yes, sorry. Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance decided it would not accept LSC money so it could continue to represent all farm workers. So they asked us to bid for the LSC funds. We did and got those funds. We were just a field program until 1996. Then, starting in January 1997, we started both the farm worker program and the poverty law program.

Alan Houseman:
The farm worker program just so I’m clear, where does that operate?

Robert Gillett:
It had offices in Grand Rapids and Berrien Springs and now has offices in Kalamazoo — well, also in Ann Arbor in Detroit but they’re satellite offices.
Alan Houseman:
Okay. keep going, I’m sorry.

Robert Gillett:
Okay, so that gets us up to what got us into doing statewide services. We continued to do statewide services through the Poverty Law Program and would use outside funded grants or one-time funding opportunities to expand the areas. You know it started as housing, family, and public benefits and technology. I think we’re the first state support program to explicitly provide technology support. That was from the beginning and again, yes, it was pushed on us by the bar foundation. But it’s a real important part of our services now. Then we got funding to expand in to elder law, and we got funding to expand into immigration law. We started to provide support in other areas.

Robert Gillett:
Then in 2008, with what are called in Michigan the “bubble funds” — the one-time influx of pent-up IOLTA funds — the bar foundation put out a broad RFP. That was right at the beginning of the foreclosure crisis. So it permitted us to do a grant to the bar foundation and at the same time to the Ford Foundation to provide comprehensive foreclosure prevention work on a statewide basis. Again in Michigan we call this the MFPP model. We got the bar foundation money, and then some Ford money and then some institute foreclosure legal assistance money and some Krezge money. We used that money really to only fund one position at MPLP. But we used it to grant out to the other programs in the state and fund 14 other lawyers housed in each of the local legal aid programs to do direct, local community foreclosure work.

Robert Gillett:
We did a variation of that at the same time in creating the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. You know, we really created it not as a single support staff. We created a program that was going to support all the little two-person, three-person immigration advocacy organizations all over the state. Then a few years later we had an opportunity to create the Michigan Elder Justice initiative. In 2010, we had the opportunity to create Michigan Legal Help. Again that was a competitive bid with private bidders and the state bar. But we were really viewed at that point as the logical technology hub for state services. Then recently we have added a new program on crime victims assistance.

Alan Houseman:
This relationship with the University of Michigan Law School for the project, how does it work? I mean, I think it’s unique, I don’t know anywhere else that does it. You may.

Robert Gillett:
I don’t really and in some ways I don’t understand why others haven’t done this. We jointly applied for the bar foundation grant and we still split the money with, let’s say 60%, 70% going to us and the remainder going to the law school. With that funding, the law school assigns three full-time staff to MPLP and provides space. Which is another separate grant of about $100,000 a year. It’s a challenge working with law schools because they have their clinic people and they have their administrative people and they have their academic people. We’re floating between administration and clinic. This has gone on for 20 years now and there’s just been a series of great relationships with the administrative people, and especially with what’s now called the Dean of Experiential learning, where they saw this as a central part of what they wanted to do with their deanship. We meet twice a year, sometimes once a year. The meetings are pretty short and very friendly. It’s a model where they want to be in it and they realize the resource it is for students. They want to be associated with the work we do and they know that we’re going to do 90% of the work.

Robert Gillett:
Recently, starting last academic year, the law school has an initiative to create a poverty law related client experience for every 1L, so we’re the source of those 320 client experiences. We really had to jump through some hoops because you want them consistent. You want them to start and stop at the same time. It’s not like you can just send them over on intake once a week. But again, I think that the law school has continued to see us as a resource. We think of it as an unrestricted grant for $350,000 or $400,000 at this point.

Alan Houseman:
Aside from the accomplishments we’ve talked about, what would you say are some of the two or three biggest accomplishments of the Southeast Michigan program and the Michigan Advocacy Program.

Robert Gillett:
I did try to think about this. When I thought about it, each accomplishment brought back one person or three people or five people who did it with me, and often did most of the work. My biggest accomplishment is I feel like I work very well with people. I join teams and form teams.

Robert Gillett:
But I will mention two more accomplishments. First is significant litigation victories for low income people in Michigan or nationally that I’ve been apart of. There are probably 25 of those across a whole bunch of legal areas. Actually, these include litigation, legislative advocacy and administrative advocacy that have made significant changes in a positive way for low income people. I feel really good about that.

Robert Gillett:
Then the second thing that I think about is when I look at both the legal services landscape and the non-profit landscape in Washtenaw County and our service area. There are 20 significant organizations that I sat at the table when they were created and that are really providing service to tens of thousands of people every day. So if you say, “What do I feel great about in my work?” It’s the legal changes that we’ve put in place and the structural changes in the legal services community and in the poverty community that are providing help to low income people.

Alan Houseman:
Before I go there, is there anything else you want to add to the discussion we’ve just had around the Michigan Advocacy Program?

Robert Gillett:
Well the only thing that I’d add is that I’ve seen in a lot of states where there’s the unrestricted state support and it’s this little island. I think a big difference for us is because we’ve been able to grow state support, it’s really almost 50% of the program now. It’s a different approach to state support than I think other states have been taking.

Alan Houseman:
That’s interesting. Great. You’ve been very active in the Washtenaw County Bar and the state bar and I just want you to talk about a little bit of that.

Robert Gillett:
When I started law school I was pure, and my goal was to never talk to anybody at law school for three years. I just wanted a license so I could do public interest law. Instead I got sucked into very progressive student organizations. So in some ways as I look back on my so-called career I think of it as working with broader groups. When I started to practice I had that same purity where I would talk to my clients and I’d talk to my co-counsel but that was it. I really was surprised and felt ambivalent about having any relationship at all with anybody who wasn’t as ideologically pure as I was. I just felt that break down over my first years of practice. Saul Green was the counsel for HUD at that time and I just realized I couldn’t be his total personal enemy. The way that we talked about cases was trying to solve problems for people. It changed my orientation.

Robert Gillett:
Then when I went to be the director of MAP they had a pro bono program, so I had to relate to the private bar and to my surprise that was a positive thing. It’s a very progressive bar that believes in legal services. So I’d been in Ann Arbor as a legal aid director for say five years. I still remember Margo Nichols taking me out to lunch and saying, “You know there’s a slot in the ascendancy to be bar president here and I think you should do it. I think it would be good for you and I think it would be really good for the program.” Again, I was ambivalent about it but decided to do it and did it. I really felt that it expanded what the program could do in the community you. So I just over time became more and more open to working with broader groups.

Alan Houseman:
You did ultimately become the president of the Washtenaw Bar.

Robert Gillett:
Yes.

Alan Houseman:
You also have been active I think on the state bar.

Robert Gillett:
Yeah but those run two different tracks. There’s the Washtenaw County Bar and that makes you famous forever in Washtenaw County. But the Legal Services Association in Michigan had a tense relationship with the state bar during the early 90s. There were pro bono counsel that didn’t like the programs and we didn’t like them. So against my will, at the request of LSAM, I agreed to join the pro bono committee. Again, it’s really taking over a hostile organization from the inside and started out losing every vote on the committee 11 to 2. Then four years, five years later, the Victoria Roberts who you may know from Detroit became the state bar president. Meanwhile, at some point in this Linda Rexer invited me to join what she referred to as a four person committee to take over the world.

Alan Houseman:
Who is Linda Rexer?

Robert Gillett:
Linda Rexer is the executive director of the state bar foundation. Her board chair at that time was John Kominsky. He was one of these four persons. Then the fourth person was Paula Zimmer, who was the president of LSAM, another project director. It was really how we were going to work together to change the relationship between the state bar and legal services. We’ve been having a couple years of these private, secret meetings and then Victoria Roberts becomes state bar president. She appoints our person to be the chair of the pro bono committee. That’s John Rowe, who is the pro bono coordinator from Dykema, one of the big four law firms in the state. But he’s a close personal friend and a true political ally. He came out of the DOJ civil rights litigation unit and then worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center. From a legal services public interest point of view, he’s definitely our person. So he said, “Yeah I’ll do this because you need my name but Bob has to do all the work.” So that went on for five years and then John retired and I became the chair of the pro bono initiative. That gives you insider status on everything at the bar. So I have continued to be on every bar committee that’s had anything to with access to justice.

Alan Houseman:
You’ve also played a major national role. So let’s talk a little bit about your roles at PAG, the Development Group, and NLADA.

Robert Gillett:
I joined the FCC, the Funding Criteria Committee in ’93. I don’t want to say my whole career pivoted with the ’96 restrictions but, at the time of those restrictions, I became the co-chair of the FCC with Regina Rogoff. I was a PAG executive committee member until ’99, 2000 when PAG and NLADA merged. Then at that time the Civil Policy Group was created and Don Saunders and Andy asked me to be the chair of the Civil Policy Group. So I started out as the first chair of the Civil Policy Group, was term limited off it, and now I’m back on the Civil Policy Group again.

Alan Houseman:
You’ve also I know been involved with the regulation subcommittee of that and maybe the resource subcommittee.

Robert Gillett:
Yeah. I’m currently chair of the resources subcommittee and have been on both resources and regs since the 90s sometime.

Alan Houseman:
You’ve also had some other work, housing and other organizational activities in your career. I want to make sure we cover those.

Robert Gillett:
When I talked about feeling good about creating organizations we’ve talked about a bunch on the legal aid side. But in Washtenaw County, I would say I created and am still the board chair of the Indigent Healthcare Organization. It started out as a class action suit against the county that didn’t have an indigent healthcare plan. As part of the negotiations of that suit the county brought in both the major hospital systems. We ended up creating a program that has a ten million dollar a year budget and at its peak, before Obamacare, gave a health card to 10,000 people in the county. It also had a medical debt forgiveness provision that has probably forgiven hundreds of millions in medical debt. Anybody who we say would have been eligible at the time they were admitted to the hospital, the hospitals agreed as part of the consent judgment to write off their debt. So that’s a community organization outside of legal services.

Robert Gillett:
During the early 2000s we had things align well locally. So since the 90s I represented Avalon Housing, which is the low income housing provider. It really started as a spinoff of the Shelter Association to be permanent housing for people who came out of the shelter. Avalon Housing had grown, and I was counsel there. Then there was a community effort to really totally reorganize our homeless services. I was counsel as part of all the efforts to rebuild a brand new single adult shelter and to build a new family shelter. Actually the old family shelter was a rotating church shelter in church basements. We built a permanent, high quality family shelter and a new youth shelter. All of these had some combination of litigation of neighbor groups suing to stop the new shelters from going in, negotiations and fundraising. All of these have local budgets much bigger than our budget at this point.

Alan Houseman:
Well that’s fascinating. I mean all this work you’ve done in the community as part of your job in a way but also not part of your job as Director of Michigan Advocacy Program. I’d like to now turn to your views on the future of civil legal aid. I don’t want to script this I mean we’re in a particular odd moment of now because we don’t know the future of LSC with the election of president Trump. But aside from that, assuming LSC survives and we keep some modicum of federal funding alive, I’m curious about your thoughts as to what you’d like to see the civil legal aid programs and the movement become, and how you fit civil legal aid into the broader Access to Justice initiatives that are going on around the country.

Robert Gillett:
All of us are deciding whether to do an 180 degree u-turn starting immediately or whether there’s some assessment and adjustment period that we’re in. I think that LSC was on one trajectory until this week and that was really to expand court partnerships, expand government partnerships, expand community partnerships. Frankly, there’s a level that marginalizes LSC. Our other federal funds are bigger than our LSC funds at this point. But has that growth stopped too? You know that was the trajectory and now some of those opportunities may still exist, and some of them may not exist anymore. So I think we’re going to have to have an internal program discussion of what changes do we make immediately and how much do we keep moving forward on current initiatives and adjust and look again, three months, six months from now. There’s really a tension between the expanded opportunities for other federal funding which are really opening up advocacy, and LSC which has always been more and more restricted. So there’s more and more of, these are the limited things we do with LSC, and this is the real advocacy that we have other funds to do.

Robert Gillett:
Having said that, I think LSC is critical. Having one central unifying force for legal aid, legal services is really important. Having a common language and a common regulatory structure and having that sense of national community is very, very important. But in terms of the direct advocacy, our program is definitely saying “What are we going to do that’s LSC restricted with the LSC funds, and what else are we going to do?” A frustration of mine is that I feel there’s a small number of programs nationally that are viewing the world like I’m viewing the world and moving in the direction that we’ve been moving for the last 15 years. There’s a lot of programs that are just managing grants as year to year grants. So in some ways I feel like what I say may not be that relevant to the community because we’re in a slightly different place than a lot of the community. But that was a pretty rambling answer to a pretty rambling question.

Alan Houseman:
Yeah, let me ask two other questions that relate to this. This broader Access to Justice movement is in part responding to people who don’t have lawyers in court.

Robert Gillett:
Yes we call that 100% access.

Alan Houseman:
They’re not really self represented. They’re in court without an attorney. There’s talk about unbundling and expanding of lay advocates and lawyers and all kinds of stuff floating around this set of discussions. I think sometimes what gets lost in all these new initiatives is the central role that civil legal aid plays. What’s your thinking about these other initiatives and how do you see that civil legal aid should be playing with them?

Robert Gillett:
Yeah. Obviously as a state bar insider, and in a very deep partnership with the state court system and the state bar and technology issues, I feel like either we’re at the table trying to control that, or it’s going to be happening in really bad ways for our clients. I think the risk of 100% access is that resources go there. What we’ve been pretty good at saying in Michigan is that there needs to be a continuum and 100% access for information and advice and simple legal problems and uncontested cases. That’s great. But there’s this other category of cases where there has to be full representation. We’re talking about 100% access. We’re there on your bottom 65%, but you’ve gotta be there on our top 35% in terms of complexity of needs, and there’s reception on that.

Robert Gillett:
I’d also say this is a background thing for the justice for all grant. When we started doing Michigan Legal Help in 2010, it’s totally outpaced our expectations. The state court administrative office saw us, saw Angela Tripp, as a resource and did joint planning about Michigan Legal Help from the beginning. So we’ve been on every SCAO committee and working directly with SCAO in their forms generation. We have had these joint meetings for six months now about technology integration across the state court system, the state bar and the state legal services. I think that’s where we need to be trying to go as a community. We’re working with them and Michigan Legal Help is now in the state budget. It went from a bar foundation seed grant to a line item. To me, it’s about being at the table and about using resources that are much greater than our resources that these other institutions have.

Alan Houseman:
Just for the record, explain Michigan Legal Help. I know what it is but …

Robert Gillett:
Okay. Michigan Legal Help is a program that includes a website with a large number of self-completing forms. A client goes on and answers interview questions and at the end of the interview, ready-to-file court papers spit out of their printer. In addition it’s a set of linked and supported local self help centers — I think we’re up to 11 or 12 or 13 statewide at this point — where people who have questions and need navigation assistance in local courts can go and get direct assistance.

Alan Houseman:
Fine. Finally, is there anything you want to add to what we haven’t covered? Or any reflections you have that you want to put on the record?

Robert Gillett:
No I mean I guess I’d say that I think the challenge for programs is to really embrace the partnerships with the bars and the courts without getting derailed the same way the hotline movement significantly derailed some legal aid programs from the mission of representing people. It’s how do you make room for and take advantage of the new delivery opportunities without stopping what you referred to as the core mission of legal services.

Alan Houseman:
I forgot to ask one thing, I just want to get it on the record. Your resume becomes part of this and you’ve won a lot of awards and honors. What of those, what was the ones that you value the most?

Robert Gillett:
I’m not really an honor or awards guy. Early on I got a National Lawyers Guild award from the Ann Arbor National Lawyers Guild and that was a lot of fun. That’s my core group and that’s who I’ve always stayed with. But it made me realize that when you’re getting an award it’s because an organization needs you and thinks they can raise funds based on being associated with your name. It’s given me a cynical view of all further awards. But it’s nice to see organizations that want to be associated with my name and that’s great.

Robert Gillett:
But here are two anecdotes about what I feel great about. I feel in some ways personally responsible for IOLTA in Michigan and personally responsible for filing fees in Michigan. I’ll tell the IOLTA anecdote . It was a Republican court and it was a split court and it was stuck with the no votes in the majority. Jim Brickley, former Lieutenant Governor, was seen as the softest swing vote. Through a number of political connections it was arranged that I would have a conversation with Brickley. Up until then, most people had approached it about how great legal aid is and how needy our clients are. Working with Linda Rexer, I decided to take a totally different approach. You may remember the Falk decisions that predated the Keller decisions on what can bars and the justice system do. So to Brickley I made a totally legal argument. The Falk decisions upheld three specific state bar functions. He’d been in the majority on those and had written the best one. It talked about the importance of legal aid and the state justice system. I made a totally legal argument on those lines and said at the end, “I think that where we differ is that you see legal aid as just another very worthy, very important nonprofit organization and I see it as a central part of our system of justice in the state.” He interrupted me and said, “I don’t think that’s fair. I think it’s fair to say that I haven’t thought about it in this way yet.”

Robert Gillett:
So we left and then maybe two weeks, three weeks later, I’m sitting in my office and I get a call from Jim Brickley. He says, “Bob I just want to tell you we passed the IOLTA rule this morning and it’s not everything you wanted but we’re going to work on this over time and we’re going to make it better and I want to thank you for your input.” That’s the thing that makes me feel good about my personal role in this work.

Alan Houseman:
Great. Well thanks it’s been terrific, thank you very much.

Robert Gillett:
Thank you.