Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New D.C. IOLTA Proposals

From the web page of the District of Columbia Bar:

The D.C. Bar’s Regulations/Rules/Board Procedures Committee has released recommendations on whether and how the D.C. Bar Foundation should monitor participation of members in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program.

On March 22, 2010, the D.C. Court of Appeals issued amendments to the Rules Governing IOLTA that became effective on August 1, 2010. The amendments made participation in the existing IOLTA program mandatory for Bar members who came into possession of IOLTA–eligible funds. No proposal to monitor member participation in the IOLTA program was forwarded to the Court because further study was needed. The Board of Governors charged the Bar’s Regulations/Rules/Board Procedures Committee to study the monitoring issue and make recommendations to the Board.

After comprehensive analysis, the committee recommends a new Rule XIV of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules Governing the Bar. The proposed Rule states that the D.C. Bar Foundation should be permitted to develop a plan for monitoring a lawyer’s or law firm’s participation in IOLTA, with the plan to be submitted for review and approval by the Bar’s Board of Governors.

In addition, the committee concluded that the monitoring of a lawyer’s or law firm’s participation in the mandatory IOLTA program should not be subject to enforcement by the disciplinary system and that members should not be required to certify their compliance with the mandatory IOLTA rules.

Both the D.C. Bar and the D.C. Bar Foundation will continue their educational efforts to ensure that members understand their ethical obligations under the mandatory IOLTA rules.

The committee is conducting a public comment period from March 25 to April 25 on its proposed amendments to the IOLTA rules. Any comments on the IOLTA report should be sent to ioltacomments@dcbar.org.

The recommendations can be found at this link. (Mike Frisch)


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