Rule Change Requires Annual IOLTA Certification
By Kenneth P. Eggers, President, Alaska Bar Foundation
Due to a recent change in Rule 1.15, Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct, all lawyers will be required to indicate on their annual bar dues notice whether the lawyer or the lawyer’s law firm:
- Elects to maintain the IOLTA trust account described in Rule 1.15;
- Elects not to maintain the IOLTA trust account; or
- Does not maintain a trust account.
Prior to the change in the rule, newly admitted lawyers were sent a notice of election form, and all lawyers were obligated to notify the Alaska Bar Association if they wished to change a previously made election. A lawyer or law firm who wishes to change a previous election may do so at any time by notifying the Alaska Bar Association in writing.
Funds generated from IOLTA accounts are used to make grants solely for the following purposes: support of legal services to the economically disadvantaged and programs to improve the administration of justice. Since its inception the Alaska IOLTA program has generated in excess of $2.7 million, all of which has been used to make grants for the aforesaid purposes.
It has been the practice of the Alaska Bar Foundation to make grants up to the amount of the IOLTA funds that are available in June of each year when the Board of Trustees considers grant applications. The reduction in interest rates on IOLTA trust accounts has had a substantial impact on the funds available for grants. In FY ’01 grants totaled $367,000. In FY ’04 grants totaled $58,800.
The Board of Trustees of the Alaska Bar Foundation urges all lawyers to maintain an IOLTA trust account. If you or your law firm presently maintains an IOLTA trust account, please continue to do so. If not, please consider establishing an IOLTA trust account. Your bank or credit union should be able to assist you in setting up such an account. If you need additional assistance you can call Karen Schmidlkofer at the Alaska Bar Association, 907-272-7469.