The Basics of Lawyer Trust and IOLTA Accounts

Rule 1.14, Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, requires that money in a lawyer’s possession that belongs to a third party, including clients, must be held separate from the lawyer’s money.

1. Primary Rule:  TDRPC Rule 1.14

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Rule 1.14 states, in pertinent part:

a) A lawyer shall hold funds and other property belonging in whole or in part to clients or third persons that are in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property. Such funds shall be kept in a separate account, designated as a "trust" or "escrow" account, maintained in the state where the lawyer's office is situated, or elsewhere with the consent of the client or third person. Other client property shall be identified as such and appropriately safeguarded. Complete records of such account funds and other property shall be kept by the lawyer and shall be preserved for a period of five years after termination of the representation.