Attorneys often handle their clients’ money; for example settlement checks, or advance payments for court costs or other expenses. If there is a large sum of money involved or held for a long time, an attorney can hold the client's funds in an individual account, known as a Client Trust Account (CTA), and the interest earned will go to the client.
Any lawyer who handles client funds that are too small in amount or held too briefly to earn interest for the client must participate in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. IOLTA accounts can only be kept at approved financial institutions. The interest earned from pooled IOLTA benefits nearly 100 nonprofit legal service organizations throughout California. IOLTA increases access to justice for individuals and families living in poverty and improves our justice system.
Find the rules for managing a client trust account on the State Bar website.