History of the IOLTA Program
The Arkansas IOLTA Program has evolved since its creation in 1984. This page lists significant per curiam opinions issued by the Arkansas Supreme Court related to the IOLTA program.
1. In re Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, No. 82-276 (Jan. 10, 1983), 278 Ark. 644, 644 S.W.2d 924 (1983) – Published for comment a proposal for the creation of an IOLTA program.
2. In re Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, No. 82-276 (Apr. 11, 1983), 279, Ark. 84, 648 S.W.2d 480) – Denied petition of the Arkansas Bar Association to create an IOLTA program based on concerns raised related to the unauthorized taking of client property. While supportive of the concept, the Court was of the opinion that participation in the program must be conditioned upon notice to and approval by the clients.
3. In re Petition to Create IOLTA, No. 84-90 (Sept. 17, 1984), 283 Ark. 252, 675 S.W.2d 355 (1984) – Created the Arkansas IOLTA program as a voluntary program permitting the collection of interest on lawyers’ trust accounts that are nominal in amount and of short duration to use for purposes approved by the Supreme Court, including for legal aid to the poor, for student loans and scholarships, for improvement of the administration of justice.
4. In re Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts, No. 84-90 (May 13, 1985), 286 Ark. 64, 689 S.W.2d 352 (1985) – Modified client notification requirements of Rule 1.15 to clarify that client notice is only required when the client’s money is deposited in the IOLTA account. Intent was to avoid notification requirement in situations where a client did not have funds deposited in the IOLTA account.
5. In re Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts, No. 84-90 (May 5, 1986), 289 Ark. 595, 709 S.W.2d 400 (1986) – Modified client notification requirements of Rule 1.15 to permit a lawyer to give notice by posting a notice in the lawyer’s office instead of mailing the notice to the client. Permits the Foundation to provide the required notice to participating attorneys and law firms.
6. In re Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts, No. 84-90 (Nov. 9, 1987), 293 Ark. 511, 738 S.W.2d 803) – Modified the composition of the IOLTA Foundation Board to reflect the Supreme Court’s desire to continue participation in and management of the IOLTA Program, but to eliminate the requirement that the Board include positions for the Chief Justice and two Associate Justices.
7. In re Petition to Modify Rule 1.15, No, 94-128 (Oct. 17, 1994), 885 S.W.2d 846 (1994) – Converted participation in the Arkansas IOLTA program from voluntary to mandatory.
8. In re Section 28 of the Supreme Court Procedures Regulating Professional Conduct (Feb. 21, 2002), 347 Ark. Appx. 1085 (2002) – Adopted Section 28 of the Procedures Regulating Professional Conduct to implement automatic overdraft reporting requirements for banks participating in the IOLTA program.
9. In re Petition to Revise the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct, 03-1049 (Mar. 3, 2005) – Granted petition of the Arkansas Bar Association to adopt rules of ethics mirroring the most recent version of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The per curiam opinion acknowledged that Rule 1.15 would “retain the Arkansas IOLTA and notification of overdraft provisions that have been inserted in recent years.” In other words, no changes were made to Rule 1.15 as a result of this opinion.
10. In re Rules Governing Admission to the Bar (June 1, 2006) – Recognized “voluntary inactive status” and authorized the Clerk of the Supreme Court, in cooperation with the IOLTA program, to modify the annual IOLTA Compliance Statement to include this as a category of attorneys exempt from maintaining an IOLTA account.
11. In re Proposed Amendment to Rule 1.15, No. 06-625 (June 29, 2006) – Acknowledged petition filed by IOLTA Foundation to implement comparability and invited public comment on proposed changes.
12. In re Adoption of Amendment to Rule 1.15, No. 06-625 (Nov. 30, 2006) – Adopted proposed changes to Rule 1.15 to require banks to pay interest rates on IOLTA accounts that are comparable to rates paid on similarly situated non-IOLTA products.
13. In re Access to Justice Commission (Apr. 2, 2009) – Created and funded an Executive Director position for the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission and requested that the IOLTA Board of Directors and Access to Justice Commission “explore possible options regarding mission and structure and report to the court as to how the needs for legal services to low-income Arkansans can best be met.”
14. In re Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct Proposal to Amend Procedures Regulating Professional Conduct (Feb. 3, 2011), 2011 Ark. 38 – Proposed changes to Procedures Governing Professional conduct, including the elimination of commentary to Section 28, and set forth the form of an overdraft notification agreement required of banks participating in IOLTA.
15. In re Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct Proposal to Amend Procedures Regulating Professional Conduct (May 26, 2011), 2011 Ark. 242 – Adopted changes to Procedures Governing Professional conduct, including the elimination of commentary to Section 28, and set forth the form of an overdraft notification agreement required of banks participating in IOLTA.
16. In re Petition to Merge Arkansas Access to Justice Commission, Inc., & Arkansas IOLTA Foundation, Inc. (Sept. 26, 2013), 2013 Ark. 355 – Approved the merger of the Arkansas IOLTA Foundation, Inc., and Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation, Inc., effective January 1, 2014, and adopted conforming amendments to Arkansas Rule of Professional Conduct 15 and Section 28 of the Procedures Governing the Professional Conduct of Attorneys at Law.
17. In re Amendment of Ark. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.15 & Admin. Order No. 22 (Nov. 5, 2015), 2015 Ark. 420 – Established a mechanism by which attorneys or estates of deceased attorneys can deal with unclaimed or unidentifiable funds in client trust accounts and moved provisions of the rule that deal with bank compliance and interest rate comparability to an administrative order. Updated bank compliance requirements to require participating banks to report and remit electronically and to report IOLTA account balances.