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top ten tips

IOLTA'S TOP TIPS FOR LAWYERS

Regarding Registration Forms:

1. ILLEGIBLE=INELIGIBLE…PRINT CLEARLY AND INCLUDE YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER. We usually end the year with a box of at least two dozen Registration forms that are illegible, causing those attorneys to land on the ineligible list.

2. MAKE A COPY OF YOUR IOLTA REGISTRATION AND KEEP IT IN AN IOLTA FILE. Keep any extra forms in case you change banks or add accounts. Next year, you can refer to this year's form to see how you registered your account(s).

3. THE FIRST IOLTA REGISTRATION MAILING, TO ALL FIRMS AND SOLE PRACTITIONERS, IS IN DECEMBER FOR THE FOLLOWING YEAR. If you haven't received it by Super Bowl Sunday, call us!

4. IF YOU CHANGE LAW FIRMS, TELL US!

About Banking:

5. ALL NEW ATTORNEY TRUST ACCOUNTS SHOULD BE OPENED AT FIRST AS NON-INTEREST BEARING. IOLTA will instruct the bank to convert it to an interest bearing account only after we talk with you to determine that it would be appropriate.

6. PICK A DIFFERENT COLOR CHECK FOR YOUR TRUST ACCOUNT. It's easier to distinguish at a glance from the operating or business account.

7. IF YOU CHANGE BANKS, TELL US! We need to know where the new account will be, and when the old account will close.

8. Corollary to Item 5 above, CLOSE OLD, INACTIVE TRUST ACCOUNTS. You can either transfer the balance to a new account or wait until all disbursements are cleared from the old account. In either case, you should instruct the bank to close it.

9. CHECK YOUR BANK STATEMENT ALL THE WAY THROUGH and RECONCILE THE ACCOUNT AT LEAST MONTHLY. If the bank has credited interest to your account that should have come to IOLTA, please let us know right away.

10. TAKE OUR TELEPHONE NUMBER TO THE BANK WITH YOU. Due to staff turnover, centralization of operations and other reasons, bank personnel don't always receive thorough training about proper account opening procedures for trust accounts. We will be happy to talk with them.

And Finally:

11. CALL ANYTIME! Our objective is to assist every attorney with compliance.

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