Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New IOLTA Rules Proposed For D.C.

The District of Columbia Bar's disciplinary rules revision committee has proposed amendment to Rule 1.15 with the stated goal of increasing revenue generated by IOLTA funds. A summary of the proposed changes:

  • Change the existing “opt out” IOLTA program into a comprehensive program in which every D.C. Bar member must participate, regardless of where the member principally practices.
  • Exempt a lawyer from the requirements of the IOLTA program when the lawyer is required by any tribunal, or by a foreign jurisdiction in which that lawyer principally practices, to follow a contrary rule about particular trust accounts. This would include requirements of a foreign jurisdiction’s IOLTA Program where the lawyer is participating either by failing to “opt out” or for affirmatively “opting in.” To the extent that Rule 1.15 does not resolve a multi-jurisdictional conflict, the general conflict of laws provisions of Rule 8.5 will govern.
  • Require lawyers to advise the Bar Foundation of the opening and closing of a D.C. IOLTA Account, and report and periodically certify to the Bar Foundation compliance with, or exemption from, the IOLTA requirements in a manner and form established by the Foundation.[5] (The Rules Review Committee did not analyze this part of the Foundation’s proposal.)
  • Require that banks that wish to qualify as “Approved Depositories” -- institutions where lawyers are allowed to open and maintain client trust accounts -- agree to provide certain interest rates on IOLTA accounts (rate comparability).[6]
  • Create a new subsection of Rule XI of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules Governing the Bar that would address the requirements for banking institutions with IOLTA accounts
  • Delete in their entirety existing RPC Rule 1.19 and Appendix B with appropriate provisions from those rules relocated in RPC Rule 1.15 and Rule XI.

(Mike Frisch)


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Mike, this looks like it could get fairly complicated for the many lawyers who have a DC license as secondary to their practice elsewhere.

Posted by: Alan Childress | Mar 17, 2009 1:55:07 PM

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