How to Ethically Oversee Trust Accounts (CE Credit)

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Guided by the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules, this overview outlines proper processes, recordkeeping and internal controls that involve law office personnel and trust accounts. Since lawyers are licensed by the individual states, they are required to follow the rules of the state in which they are licensed, including those rules that apply to the use of trust accounts. When looking for guidance on how to handle a particular situation, review the applicable state law, but since many states use the ABA Model Rules as guidance in creating their state rules, in many cases, the rules will be the same. Where state law is unclear, the ABA Model Rules may help in choosing a course of action. However, it is state law and the courts in the particular state that will make the ultimate determination in the handling of trust account issues.

Read the article in Legal Management magazine here. Then, purchase access to the quiz: members pay $49; nonmembers pay $69.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify governing authorities for law firm trust accounts.
  2. Examine the type and function of trust accounts.
  3. Outline the trust account processes.
  4. Explain trust account records and retention.
  5. Summarize monthly trial balances and quarterly reconciliations.
  6. Discuss internal controls and separation of duties.
  7. Identify warning signs of improper trust account activities.
  8. Review procedure for handling disputed funds.
  9. Review procedures upon sale or dissolution of firm.


10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass

Members and nonmembers can read the article in Legal Management magazine, then log in to take a test. If you pass with at least 70 percent, you will earn one CE credit hour.

  • CLM® App Credit for Functional Specialists: 1 hour in the subject area of Financial Management (FM) towards the additional hours required of some Functional Specialists to fulfill the CLM application.
  • CLM® Recertification Credit: 1 hour in the subject area of Financial Management (FM). This session also satisfies the 1 hour in Ethics recertification requirement.
  • CLE: 1 hour participatory MCLE credit