Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New IOLTA Rules In D.C.

The web page of the District of Columbia Bar reports this rule change:

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has adopted amendments to the rules governing the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts recommended by the D.C. Bar Board of Governors.

The amendments, which go into effect on August 1, make participation in the IOLTA program mandatory for D.C. Bar members who receive IOLTA-eligible funds, except when a lawyer is otherwise compliant with the contrary mandates of a tribunal, or when the lawyer is participating in and compliant with trust accounting rules and the IOLTA program of the jurisdiction where the lawyer is licensed and principally practices.

The court also adopted interest rate comparability provisions for banking institutions in which Bar members are permitted to hold client funds.

The revisions amend Rule 1.15 of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and delete Rule 1.19 and Appendix B to the rules. Some provisions of former Rule 1.19 and Appendix B were moved to Rule 1.15 and to a new Section 20 to Rule XI of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules Governing the District of Columbia Bar.

The revised rules are intended to boost funds distributed by the D.C. Bar Foundation to local legal service providers by increasing revenue from D.C. IOLTA and interest paid by banks on funds held in these accounts. The revisions also provide greater clarity to the trust account ethics rules.

A proposal addressing monitoring of D.C. Bar members’ participation in the IOLTA program by the Bar Foundation was not forwarded to the court but reserved for further study by the D.C. Bar Regulations/Rules/Board Procedures Committee.

The Board of Governors sent its recommendations to the court in September 2009, and the court published the recommendations for a public comment period. The recommendations were based on the work of the Bar Foundation and the Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee that began in 2006.

For more information on the revised rules, contact legal ethics counsel Hope C. Todd at 202-737-4700, ext. 3231, or Saul Singer at 202-737-4700, ext. 3232, or by e-mail at ethics@dcbar.org. For information on how to set up an IOLTA, visit www.dcbarfoundation.org.

(Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2010/03/new-iolta-rules-in-dc.html

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