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IOLTA PRACTICE POINTERS

Article: April 7, 2017  |  ArticlesMalpractice Alerts

Answering the OBLIC Hotline, there are frequent questions involving IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer Trust Account) accounts.  Several practice pointers can help avoid problems with your IOLTA account:

  • Follow the requirements of Rule 1.15 of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct.
  • Never let your balance go negative.
    • This may mean you will need to deposit funds sufficient to cover routine bank service fees to prevent a negative balance.
  • Perform and maintain a monthly reconciliation, per Rule 1.15.
  • Be aware when accepting credit card payments.  See Opinion 2007-3
  • Deposit flat fees appropriately.  See Opinion 2016-1
  • Be sure that funds are actually available for withdrawal after depositing a check from a third party before writing disbursement check from your IOLTA account.  See Opinion 2016-7
  • If you receive a Letter of Inquiry, contact OBLIC immediately!

A recent disciplinary decision highlighted the importance of following good trust account procedures.  See Disciplinary Counsel v. BarberaSlip Opinion No. 2017-Ohio-882.

The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation provides information and resources on IOLTA & IOTA accounts.  They are also happy to take your telephone inquiries at 614-715-8560.  Your OBLIC Hotline is also always available to help!

Click here to access the entire Malpractice Alert Jan-Mar 2017

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