In 1993, the Illinois Press Association embarked on a bold new initiative to strengthen the future of the Illinois newspaper industry.  The mission of the Illinois Press Association Board of Directors is to promote, protect and foster Illinois newspapers by establishing the Illinois Newspaper Legal Defense Fund.

The Illinois Newspaper Legal Defense Fund will provide quality legal research, consultation and court action in cases where the outcome will affect the Illinois newspaper industry as a whole. 

The Illinois Newspaper Legal Defense Fund will address, but not be limited to, areas such as advertising, business, circulation, distribution and news-editorial.

In an increasingly litigious society it is imperative that Illinois newspapers have the support and the resources to meet future legal challenges.  The very existence of the Illinois Newspaper Legal Defense Fund will enhance the ability of the Illinois Press Association to meet those needs and to deter action which may adversely affect the newspaper industry.

The Illinois Newspaper Legal Defense Fund is a restricted fund with the Illinois Press Association and is to be used for no other purpose.   

IPA Legal Defense Fund Criteria

The IPA's executive committee shall consider providing funding from the IPA's Legal Defense Fund (the "Fund") if the circumstances and litigated matter meet the following criteria:

1.  Litigated matters or claims that have the potential for materially altering the manner and means by which Illinois newspapers gather news, distribute their products or otherwise conduct business.

  1. When it is necessary and appropriate and

(a)   where it would otherwise have a positive impact on the IPA's mission (e.g. legislative or governmental efforts).

(b)   where the IPA's presence has the potential to raise the profile of the issue at the heart of the litigated matter or the IPA, [and/or]  

(c)   ) relieve the economic burden of undertaking legal defense.

  1. 3.1 The grant amount from the Fund shall be determined in the Executive Committee's discretion. Except as stated in paragraph 3.2 below and unless the IPA is the initiator or the sole party to the suit, the IPA's grant from the Fund shall neither exceed the cost to be borne by the requesting member litigant(s) nor provide the sole source of funding for the litigated matter. 

        3.2   Notwithstanding the foregoing , sole funding may be provided through the Fund for the litigated matter if (a)  the member litigant has made every reasonable effort to obtain funding from other sources, (b) if all of the criteria set forth in paragraphs 1 and 2 above are met, and (c) a majority of the full IPA Board approves.

4.  If any attorneys' fees are awarded or recovered in the matter by a member litigant that receives funding hereunder, the member litigant shall be required to reimburse the amount of the award back the Fund.