For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 27

parts providing definitions that apply to the balance
of the Rule. Broadly speaking, Rule 1.15 imposes
5 duties on an attorney holding funds in trust for
others:
1.	 The lawyer has a duty to keep funds and
property separate from the lawyer's own
property. This duty includes a prohibition
against depositing the lawyer's own money
into the IOLTA, including not promptly
removing fees.
2.	 The lawyer has a duty to give notice of the
receipt of any funds or other property.
3.	 The lawyer has a duty to maintain
appropriate records of any property,
particularly money, held on behalf of
another for five years. The Rule requires
that fee agreements, all bank records of
transactions, a check registry showing the date,
payee, amount and purpose of each check,
and records of trial balances be maintained
for five years and be available for inspection.
The Rule also specifies that each client's funds
must be kept track of in a general ledger in a
separate sub-account. Once each month, the
sub-accounts, the general ledger and the IOLTA
bank statement must be reconciled and proof of
that monthly reconciling be maintained for five
years.

or demand authorized by subdivision (g) of this
Rule or any provision of the Disciplinary Board
Rules.")
5.	 The lawyer has a duty to promptly deliver
funds or other property to the person
who is legally entitled to them.
The record-keeping requirements of Rule 1.15 are
stringent and failure to comply with them is grounds
for discipline, whether a client lost money or the
failure to maintain records was due to a lack of
familiarity with the Rules. However, the good news
is that adherence to the Rule is easily accomplished,
once the correct office procedures are in place.
Many accountants and bookkeepers specialize in
IOLTA requirements and can economically and
efficiently provide the systems you need to maintain
compliance. If you regularly use an IOLTA account
and this description of the requirements that are
attendant to it are a surprise to you, it's not too late
to correct any errors. Fixing a situation before the
Disciplinary Board comes calling is far better than
fixing it after they have discovered your issues.
And the best part is-once you fix it, you can go
back to worrying about the important things in your
practice-winning your next case!
PANTONE

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4.	 The lawyer has a duty to render an
accounting of any funds held in a fiduciary
capacity on request. Rule 1.15(c)(3) mandates
that the required records kept for the IOLTA
be made available upon demand to either the
Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security
or the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Failure to
provide these documents within 10 days can
itself be grounds for discipline and a Petition
for Temporary Suspension of the attorney. See
Pa.R.D.E 221(g)(3) ("Failure to produce Pa.R.P.C.
1.15 records in response to a request or demand
for such records may result in the initiation
of proceedings pursuant to Enforcement
Rule 208(f)(1) or (f)(5) (relating to emergency
temporary suspension orders and related
relief), the latter of which specifically permits
Disciplinary Counsel to commence a proceeding
for the temporary suspension of a respondentattorney who fails to maintain or produce
Pa.R.P.C. 1.15 records after receipt of a request

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About the Author
Ellen Brotman is the owner
and founder of Brotman Law,
specializing in white collar
criminal defense, professional
ethics and appellate advocacy.
Ms. Brotman, a former Assistant
Federal Defender with over 25
years of experience litigating in
federal court, has defended all types of white collar
matters including public corruption, tax fraud, mail
fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud. Ms. Brotman
writes and speaks frequently on criminal defense,
compliance and ethics issues. Before moving to
Philadelphia, Ms. Brotman clerked for Judge Lee P.
Gagliardi in the U.S. District Court of the S.D. of New
York. She is admitted in Pennsylvania and New York.

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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 4
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 6
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 7
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 8
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 27
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 4 - 58
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