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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

How much do you know about Client Trust Accounting? Take a survey

By Laura Ernde
Staff Writer

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 MCLE program.

Client Trust AccountThe 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 discipline system.”

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 Discipline Report.

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, 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 catalog.