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Q. Since business has slowed, I finally have time to reconcile my trust account. But I haven't a clue on where to begin. Can you help me?
A. Yes. As a matter of fact, now is an ideal time to get a handle on our trust accounts and set things up so that we won't lose control over them ever again.
In addition to a step-by-step online tutorial, I am proud to be a part of The Four Stooges to present a short film on this very topic. The other three stooges didn't know much about IOLTA management and tripped over their lines, so we limited them to cameo roles. (And, yes, they're in the movie.)
Moe, Larry and Curley aren't the only ones confused by this process. Recognizing that few of us were ever properly trained in the fundamentals of trust account management, this video will show you the nuts and bolts of a process that is vital to the practice of law – and essential if we wish to stay in practice.
In less than 20 minutes, we'll explain each step in managing these funds, including:
➤ How to Open a Lawyer Trust Account
➤ Knowing When to Use It (and when not to)
➤ Watching Your Withdrawals
➤ Using Computer Programs to Help You Manage
➤ Creating Proper Ledgers of Trust Transactions
➤ Reconciling Your Account
➤ Reviewing Your Bank Statements
➤ Checking Your Checks
➤ Maintaining Proper Records
Although produced under the auspices of the Maryland State Bar Association, the fundamentals reviewed in this video will help lawyers in all states avoid the pitfalls of trust mismanagement and allow each of us to breathe easier with the knowledge that we're fulfilling our fiduciary duties.
Since this is a perfect time to get our practices organized, the MSBA is offering this video for a limited time to lawyers everywhere. Used separately or in conjunction with the online trust account course, I "trust" that you will find the guidance you are seeking here.
I wish to thank the Maryland State Bar Association for devoting substantial resources to the production of this video, including the ever-patient and outstanding videographer Bill Hall, Executive Director Victor Velazquez, Deputy Executive Director Anna Sholl and, of course, Moe, Larry and Curley. For more interesting videos, you are welcome to visit the MSBA's YouTube channel.