Brown v. Legal Foundation of Wash., 538 U.S. 216, 8 (2003)

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Cite as: 538 U. S. 216 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

charitable entities providing legal services for the poor. The aggregate value of those contributions in 2001 apparently exceeded $200 million.3

In 1984, the Washington Supreme Court established its IOLTA program by amending its Rules of Professional Conduct. IOLTA Adoption Order, 102 Wash. 2d 1101. The amendments were adopted after over two years of deliberation, during which the court received hundreds of public comments and heard oral argument from the Seattle-King County Bar Association, designated to represent the proponents of the Rule, and the Walla Walla County Bar Association, designated to represent the opponents of the Rule.

In its opinion explaining the order, the court noted that earlier Rules had required attorneys to hold client trust funds "in accounts separate from their own funds," id., at 1102, and had prohibited the use of such funds for the lawyer's own pecuniary advantage, but did not address the question whether or how such funds should be invested. Commenting on then-prevalent practice the court observed:

"In conformity with trust law, however, lawyers usually invest client trust funds in separate interest-bearing accounts and pay the interest to the clients whenever the trust funds are large enough in amount or to be held for a long enough period of time to make such investments economically feasible, that is, when the amount of interest earned exceeds the bank charges and costs of setting up the account. However, when trust funds are so nom-duct to require attorney participation in IOLTA. See Azen, Building a Base for Pro Bono in Pennsylvania, 24 Pa. Law. 28 (Mar.-Apr. 2002).

Petitioners appear to suggest that a different constitutional analysis might apply to a legislative program than to one adopted by the State's judiciary. See Brief for Petitioners 23, n. 7; Tr. of Oral Arg. 50-51. We assume, however, that the procedure followed by the State when promulgating its IOLTA Rules is irrelevant to the takings issue.

3 See Brief for AARP et al. as Amici Curiae 11 (citing ABA Commission on Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts, IOLTA Handbook 98, 208 (Jan. 1995, updated July 2002)).


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