Bar Rules

Rule 15-102. DEFINITIONS.

State Bar Programs / Part XV - Georgia Bar Foundation / CHAPTER 1 - IOLTA ACCOUNTS / Rule 15-102. DEFINITIONS.

     (a)   An “IOLTA  Account”  means  a  trust  account  benefiting  the Foundation, established in an approved institution for the deposit of pooled nominal or short-term funds of clients or third persons, and meeting the requirements of the Foundation as further detailed below. The account product may be an interest-bearing checking account; a money market account with, or tied to, check writing; a sweep account, portions of which are regularly moved into a government money market fund or daily overnight financial institution repurchase agreement invested solely in, or fully collateralized by, United States government securities; or an open-end money market fund solely invested in, or fully collateralized by, United States government securities.

(1)   “Nominal or short-term” describes funds of a client or third person that the lawyer has determined cannot provide a positive net return to the client or third person.

(2)   “Open-end money market fund” is a fund that identifies itself as a money market fund as defined by applicable federal statutes and regulations under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and, at the time of the investment, having total assets of at least $250,000,000.

(3)   “United  States  government  securities”  are  United  States Treasury obligations and obligations issued or guaranteed as to principal and interest by the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof.

     (b)   An “approved institution” is a bank or savings and loan association which is an approved institution as defined in Rule 1.15(III)(c)(1) and which voluntarily chooses to offer IOLTA Accounts consistent with the additional requirements of this Rule, including:

(1)  to remit to the Foundation interest or dividends, net of any allowable reasonable fees on the IOLTA Account, on the average
monthly balance in that account, at least quarterly. Any allowable reasonable fees in excess of the interest earned on that account for any month, and any fees or charges that are not allowable reasonable fees, shall be charged to the lawyer or law firm in whose names such account appears, if not waived by the approved institution.

(2)   to transmit with each remittance to the Foundation a statement showing the name of the lawyer or law firm for whom the remittance is sent, the applicable IOLTA Account number, the rate of interest applied, the average monthly account balance against which the interest rate is applied, the gross interest earned, the types and amounts of service charges or fees applied, and the amount of the net interest remittance.

(3)   to transmit to the depositing lawyer or law firm periodic reports or statements in accordance with the approved institution’s normal procedures for reporting to depositors.

(4)   to pay comparable interest rates on IOLTA Accounts, as defined below at Rule 15-103.

     (c)   “Allowable reasonable fees” for IOLTA Accounts are per check charges, per deposit charges, a fee in lieu of a minimum balance, Federal deposit insurance fees, and sweep fees. (“Allowable reasonable fees” do not include check printing charges, NSF charges, overdraft interest charges, account reconciliation charges, stop payment charges, wire transfer fees, and courier fees. Such listing of excluded fees is not intended to be all inclusive.) All other fees are the responsibility of, and may be charged to, the lawyer maintaining the IOLTA Account. Fees or charges in excess of the earnings accrued on the account for any month or quarter shall not be taken from earnings accrued on other IOLTA Accounts. Approved financial institutions may elect to waive any or all fees on IOLTA Accounts.

Return to handbook browser.