Brown v. Legal Foundation of Wash., 538 U.S. 216, 9 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

inal in amount or to be held for so short a period that the amount of interest that could be earned would not justify the cost of creating separate accounts, most attorneys simply deposit the funds in a single noninterest-bearing trust checking account containing all such trust funds from all their clients. The funds in such accounts earn no interest for either the client or the attorney. The banks, in contrast, have received the interest-free use of client money." Ibid.

The court then described the four essential features of its IOLTA program: (a) the requirement that all client funds be deposited in interest-bearing trust accounts, (b) the requirement that funds that cannot earn net interest for the client be deposited in an IOLTA account, (c) the requirement that the lawyers direct the banks to pay the net interest on the IOLTA accounts to the Legal Foundation of Washington (Foundation), and (d) the requirement that the Foundation must use all funds received from IOLTA accounts for tax-exempt law-related charitable and educational purposes. It explained:

"1. All client funds paid to any Washington lawyer or law firm must be deposited in identifiable interest-bearing trust accounts separate from any accounts containing non-trust money of the lawyer or law firm. The program is mandatory for all Washington lawyers. New CPR DR 9-102(A).

"2. The new rule provides for two kinds of interest-bearing trust accounts. The first type of account bears interest to be paid, net of any transaction costs, to the client. This type of account may be in the form of either separate accounts for each client or a single pooled account with subaccounting to determine how much interest is earned for each client. The second type of account is a pooled interest-bearing account with the interest to be paid directly by the financial institu-

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