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Lawyer Trust Account Commission

Lawyer Trust Account Commission 

Judicial Branch Building 

1111 East Court Avenue 

Des Moines, Iowa  50319 

(515) 725-8029 

IOLTA@iowacourts.gov  

 

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The Lawyer Trust Account Commission manages a fund generated from interest on the pooled trust accounts of attorneys. Lawyers' pooled trust accounts hold client funds that are so small or held for such a brief period that it is not possible for the funds to economically benefit the individual client. Prior to the creation of the program, these accounts earned no interest. The fund is used to support civil legal services to the poor. Funds are disbursed to charitable and educational programs through grants. For more information contact IOLTA@iowacourts.gov  

 

 

Grant Applications

 

The Iowa Supreme Court Lawyer Trust Account Commission is accepting applications for grants under the Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) program for the grant period that begins July 1, 2017. IOLTA program grants are awarded to public purpose projects that provide legal services to low-income persons in civil cases, law-related education, and other programs that improve the administration of justice in Iowa. The Commission must receive completed grant applications no later than 4:30 p.m., Friday, February 3, 2017. The Commission will then review the applications and seek approval from the Iowa Supreme Court for awarding the grants. Grant recipients will be announced in late May or early June of 2017. Grant applications may be downloaded from the forms section below. 

  

  

 

News for IOLTA Depository Institutions 

  

Address for Forwarding Interest Payments 

  

Interest payments and report forms for IOLTA accounts now should be forwarded by participating IOLTA institutions to the following address: 

 

Lawyer Trust Account Commission 

Judicial Branch Building 

1111 East Court Avenue 

Des Moines, Iowa  50319 

  

 

Revised Interest Remittance Report Form for Monthly and Quarterly Reporting 

  

The Commission has adopted a revised report form for use by IOLTA institutions submitting their monthly or quarterly interest remittances.  Notably, the form incorporates explicit reporting of the interest rate paid on the account balance and fees or charges assessed against the interest.  A copy of the revised report form is included with the downloadable forms on this web page. 

     

New Requirement for Reporting of Overdrafts    

 

The Supreme Court of Iowa recently revised the lawyer disciplinary rules to include a provision for bank notification of the Client Security and Attorney Disciplinary Commission any time an overdraft condition exists with respect to a lawyer trust account.  The Iowa rule change is modeled after a similar provision adopted in Minnesota in 1990.  At least thirty states have adopted a similar provision requiring that banks immediately notify the lawyer and the state disciplinary office whenever an overdraft occurs in a lawyer trust account.  The experience in those states that have adopted such a rule is that early intervention following reporting of an overdraft helps prevent additional losses to clients that would occur absent a timely response by the disciplinary authority when an overdraft report is received.  The Client Security and Attorney Disciplinary Commission requests the cooperation of participating IOLTA institutions in overdraft reporting as set forth in the revised rule.  Questions regarding the overdraft reporting requirement may be addressed to staff of the Client Security Commission at (515) 725-8029 or client.security@iowacourts.gov. 

  

Commission Clarifies Bank Charges Chargeable Against IOLTA Interest   

  

The Supreme Court of Iowa recently revised the lawyer discipline rules to clarify what bank charges are a lawyer or law firm responsibility and what bank charges may be deducted from IOLTA interest.   Prior to the rule change, the Lawyer Trust Account Commission had became aware that some banks are using interest otherwise payable to the Commission under the Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) program to pay fees and charges associated with particular account transactions, such as wire transfer fees incurred incident to real estate closings conducted by a law firm, or stop payment fees on checks issued by the law firm.  Under the revised rule, the only fee or charge a bank or other depository institution may collect from IOLTA interest is the monthly fee customarily assessed by the institution against a depositor solely for the privilege of maintaining the type of account involved.  Fees or charges assessed by a bank incident to transactions involving a lawyer's trust account, such as fees for wire transfers, stop payment orders or check printing, are a lawyer or law firm responsibility and may not be paid or deducted from interest or dividends otherwise payable to the Lawyer Trust Account Commission.  Questions regarding the handling of fees and charges incident to trust account operations may be addressed to Commission staff at (515) 725-8029 or IOLTA@iowacourts.gov. 

  

  

Forms (download a copy) 

 

IOLTA Monthly/Quarterly Report Form. This report form is intended for use by IOLTA depository institutions submitting their monthly or quarterly interest remittances to the Lawyer Trust Account Commission. 

  

IOLTA Instructions and Report Form.   IOLTA Instructions and Report Form.  These instructions and report form are intended for use by new IOLTA depository institutions to set up new pooled lawyer trust accounts and begin submitting monthly or quarterly interest reports and remittances. 

 

Grant Application Form.  This form may be used to apply for an IOLTA grant from the Lawyer Trust Account Commission.  Grant applications normally are accepted during the period from mid-January through mid-April each year, for the grant year commencing the following July 1st.  The specific grant acceptance period and deadline is announced each year by press release available at the main Judicial Branch web site.  

 

Six Month Program Report Form.  This form is used to submit the program evaluation report required of most grantees following the end of the first six months of the grant year. 

  

Twelve Month Program Report Form.  This form is used to submit the final program evaluation report required of all grantees following the end of the grant year. 

  

Members

The commission is composed of seven members--four Iowa lawyers and three Iowa residents who are not lawyers. The members are appointed by the Iowa Supreme Court for terms of three years except for appointments to fill vacancies of unexpired terms. No member shall serve more than two terms. The following persons currently serve on the Commission: 

  

Jenny L. Weiss, Dubuque, Chair 

 

Hon. Lars Anderson, Iowa City 

 

Artemio Santiago, Fort Madison 

 

Paul Martin, Clive 

 

Jay East, Garner 

 

Kimberly K. Murphy, Council Bluffs 

 

Karla Alaniz, West Des Moines 

 

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