Hello welcome to this edition of the JACPA Ethics Alert blog which will discuss the recent Florida Bar News report that The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors will review and potentially vote on proposed amendments to the Bar’s trust account Rules at its March 23, 2012 meeting in Pensacola.
The Disciplinary Procedure Committee has been working on the revisions for more than a year and forwarded the proposed revisions to the BOG during its Tallahassee meeting last month and the proposed revisions will be on the agenda of the March 23, 2012 BOG meeting.
The proposed rule amendments would require lawyers to prepare a written trust account plan which identifies the individuals in the law firm who are primarily responsible for the IOTA trust account, including the required monthly reconciliations and the annual list. The plan must also specify the duties of lawyers who are not responsible for the trust account or supervise the trust accounting, but have clients with funds in the trust account. The plan must also identify what associates and other non-managing members should do if they suspect that there is a problem with the firm’s trust account.
The proposed trust account rule amendments also address how electronic transfers from trust accounts must be accomplished, what documentation is required as part of such transfers, and restricts when electronic transfers can be used. The amendments reaffirm that lawyers are prohibited from signing blank trust account checks and would also require that each trust account check be signed by a lawyer, not a non-lawyer employee of the firm or with a signature stamp.
Finally, the proposed revised comments have sample forms, including checks and monthly reconciliation forms, as well as sample trust accounting policies which may be used by law firms.
Bottom line: If you have an IOTA trust account in your practice, get ready to prepare your written plan and I will keep you posted on the progress of these proposed trust account rule changes.
Be careful out there!
| As always, if you have any questions about this Ethics Alert or need assistance, analysis, and guidance regarding these or any other ethics, risk management, or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.
THE LAW OFFICE OF JOSEPH A. CORSMEIER, P.A.
PROVIDES ETHICS ADVICE AND EXPERT OPINIONS TO LAWYERS AND LAW FIRMS
DEFENDS LAWYERS IN BAR MISSION AND DISCIPLINE CASES
(AND MUCH MORE!)
My law firm focuses on review, analysis, and interpretation of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, advice and representation of lawyers in Bar disciplinary matters, defense of applicants for admission to The Florida Bar before the Board of Bar Examiners, defense of all Florida licensed professionals in discipline and admission matters before all state agencies and boards, expert ethics opinions, and practice management for lawyers and law firms. If there is a lawyer or other Florida professional license involved, I can defend the complaint or help you get your license.
If you have any questions or comments, please call me at (727) 799-1688 or e-mail me at [email protected]. You can find my law firm on the web at www.jac-law.com. In addition to handling individual cases, matters, problems and issues for my clients, I also am on retainer to provide ethics advice to numerous lawyers and law firms throughout the state of Florida. I also provide legal assistance and advice to numerous individuals and non-legal entities to help insure compliance with the law and rules related to UPL and other issues.
Disclaimer: this e-mail does not contain any legal advice and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.
Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
2454 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 431
Clearwater, Florida 33759
Office (727) 799-1688
Fax (727) 799-1670
NOTICE OF CONFIDENTIALITY: This electronic communication and the information contained herein is legally privileged and confidential proprietary information intended only for the individual and/or entity to whom it is addressed pursuant to the American Bar Association Formal Opinion No. 99-413, dated March 10, 1999 and all other applicable laws and rules. If you receive this transmission in error, you are advised that any disclosure, copying, distribution, or the taking of any action in reliance upon the communication is strictly prohibited. Any unauthorized use, distribution, or disclosure of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please notify us immediately by return e-mail at the above telephone number and then delete message entirely from your system. Thank you for your cooperation.