Supreme Court’s Order Changing Rule 1.15 (download)
Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers On IOLTA (download)
Financial Institution Compliance Form (download)
Revised Financial Institution Compliance Form (download) (used for changes to a previously filed and approved Compliance Form)
Prime Partner Application Form (download)
On June 10, 2010 The Supreme Court of the State of Delaware approved amendments to Rule 1.15 of the Delaware Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct that governs the Delaware IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers’ Trust Accounts) program. These changes become effective on November 1, 2010.
IOLTA Rule Amendments
According to the Rule amendments, lawyers must maintain all pooled trust/escrow accounts in Delaware IOLTA accounts at “eligible institutions”; participation in the program by all lawyers holding IOLTA eligible funds is now mandatory. Thus, existing, as well as newly-opened, pooled trust/escrow checking accounts must now be held as IOLTA accounts.
At eligible institutions, IOLTA accounts must earn the highest rate of interest or dividends generally available to similarly-situated non-IOLTA accounts at that financial institution (called “comparability”). The Rule also clarifies how IOLTA service charges may be handled and the different product options available for meeting the requirements. The revised Rule can be found at: http://courts.delaware.gov/Rules/#supreme.
Requirements for Eligible IOLTA Depositories
If your bank intends to continue offering IOLTA accounts you must return the enclosed financial institution Compliance Statement so the Delaware Bar Foundation can certify your financial institution’s compliance with the revised Rule. The Compliance Statement informs us how your bank plans to implement the interest rate comparability requirement, and other provisions of the Rule. Please note, the Compliance Statement requires additional supporting documentation and is subject to review and acceptance by the Delaware Bar Foundation, administrator of the Delaware IOLTA Program.
The Bar Foundation hopes that all currently participating financial institutions will continue to participate in Delaware’s IOLTA program. The Bar Foundation will work with each institution to implement any required changes. However, if a lawyer holds an IOLTA account at an institution that is not certified as eligible, the lawyer will be required to move that account to an eligible institution.
We request that you return the completed IOLTA Compliance Statement and the required supporting documentation as soon as possible, but not later than September 3, 2010, to allow us sufficient time to review them and, upon acceptance, add your institution to the list of approved IOLTA depositories, prior to the Court deadline of November 1, 2010. We will begin posting the list of eligible institutions on the website beginning in October, so attorneys and law firms can ensure their accounts are maintained in authorized depositories.
Delaware IOLTA Prime Partner Program
Over the years, many banks have increased the value of their partnership with the Delaware IOLTA program by paying higher yields on IOLTA accounts resulting in additional funds available for grants to the non-profit agencies that provide free legal services to low income persons The Bar Foundation has recognized these banks the past three years through the Delaware Bar Foundation Bank Honor Roll, published on the Foundation’s website, and in its magazine, Delaware Lawyer. We would like to continue to recognize those banks that choose to go above and beyond the eligibility requirements of the revised Rule to support the IOLTA program in its mission to ensure access to civil legal assistance for low-income persons in Delaware by designating them as IOLTA’s Prime Partner Institutions. If you would like to become a Prime Partner, please submit a completed Prime Partner Form to the Foundation’s offices.