Do You Have to Personally Reconcile Your Trust Account Every Month?

reconcile-trustYou will if the Louisiana Supreme Court adopts a recent LSBA House of Delegates resolution requiring just that. On Saturday, January 25, 2014, the House considered a resolution “to amend Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, to require reconciliation of client trust accounts at least monthly, as well as maintenance of such records of the reconciliation(s).” See LSBA House Agenda for Jan. 25, 2014. For the full text of the resolution, click here. The resolution passed the House and now heads to the Louisiana Supreme Court for its consideration.

Granted, lawyers need to watch their trust accounts. Very carefully. A monthly reconciliation by the lawyer is one way to do this. But there are other ways. For example, a lawyer can opt in for real-time reports of trust account activity through text messaging or email from the lawyer’s bank. A lawyer can have an accounting software package electronically “match” trust account ledgers and bank activity on a periodic basis. A lawyer can hire and supervise a competent accountant to perform reconciliations and audits.

It certainly would be ideal if all Louisiana lawyers personally reconciled their trust accounts each month, as Saturday’s resolution would require. But is it realistic? Do lawyers at mega-firms on Poydras Street look over their firms’ trust account ledgers and bank statements every month? Of course they don’t; they rely on accountants in business offices. If the Louisiana Supreme Court follows the resolution of the House, all Louisiana lawyers may personally be responsible for doing monthly resolutions themselves. Are we ready for that?


Please follow and like us: