How much do you know about Client Trust Accounting?
Take a survey
By Laura Ernde
When it comes to handling client funds, how can you be
sure you know all the ins and outs of the ethical rules?
Take about 10 minutes to complete this anonymous online survey to find out what
you know about Client Trust Accounting and earn a $10 credit toward an online
The State Bar Board of Trustees approved the survey last
month to increase awareness of client trust accounting rules and serve as an
educational tool. In addition, State Bar staff will analyze the survey results
to make decisions about future educational and regulatory efforts.
“The bar should be proactive in
carrying out its public protection mission,” State Bar President Craig Holden
said. “By making sure attorneys are up on trust accounting rules, we can
prevent harm to consumers as well as help attorneys avoid contact with the
Client trust accounting violations have long represented
one of the primary areas of concern for the Office of Chief Trial Counsel, the
bar’s prosecution unit, Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim said. The office receives
complaints about client trust account violations from a number of sources,
including clients and financial institutions, which are required to report any
bounced checks against an attorney’s client trust account. Banks alone
submitted 2,228 such reports in 2014, according to the Annual
Holden urges attorneys,
particularly those who deal with client trust accounts, to respond to the
survey. Even those who believe they are following the rules can benefit from
taking the survey without fear of discipline, he said.
Trustee Dennis Mangers, who
chairs the board’s Regulation and Discipline Committee that directed the
survey’s development, said he hopes the survey will “heighten the attention of
the profession” to the importance of accurate trust accounting.
He commended the effort to
prevent problems before clients lose money and attorneys lose their licenses.
The survey was a joint staff
project by various State Bar departments coordinated by the State Bar’s Office
of Professional Competence. The survey contains questions about longstanding
record keeping requirements, information about common issues in trust
accounting and links to educational resources, such as the bar’s online
trust accounting handbook.
The bar’s website also
features a new
web page dedicated
to client trust accounting resources. It includes links to relevant rules and
statutes, publications, forms, ethics opinions and online videos.
The survey, at http://bit.ly/ctasurvey2015, will remain active through July 31 on the State Bar’s home
page and Ethics Information page.
Participants will also
receive a coupon, valid through the end of the year, for a $10 discount on any
item in the State Bar online CLE