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Learning to Trust

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.

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Attorney Grievance defense attorney specializes in defending lawyers in disciplinary proceedings before the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and the D.C. Bar's Board on Professional Responsibility involving professional misconduct, legal ethics, disbarment, suspensions of law licenses, petitions for disciplinary action, reprimands and sanctions for unethical conduct. If you receive a letter from Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless, Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox, or from any attorney disciplinary board in Maryland or the District of Columbia, retain experienced attorneys with expertise in lawyer discipline and breach of ethics cases to avoid sanctions for professional misconduct. We help lawyers avoid disbarment, suspension, reprimands, censure and informal admonitions by drafting responses to client grievances and ethical complaints; representing lawyers in peer reviews, evidentiary hearings, and oral arguments before the BPR and the Court of Appeals; filing petitions to reinstate an attorney's license to practice law; conducting law firm ethical compliance audits; and drafting legal ethics opinions to protect lawyers from ethics charges. In many cases, disciplinary proceedings may be dismissed, dismissed with a warning, or result in a conditional diversion agreement with Bar Counsel to rectify misconduct. Lawyers may need help in managing their law firm attorney escrow IOLTA trust account and complying with attorney trust accounting rules to avoid charges of ethical misconduct. Do not represent yourself in responding to an attorney grievance, law firm client complaint, or other allegation of ethical impropriety. Attorney grievance defense counsel may help you comply with legal ethics rules, avoid sanctions like suspension or disbarment, and avoid future attorney grievances.

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By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and Irwin R. Kramer who are responsible for the content of this informational website.   This website is designed for lawyers faced with attorney grievances. As cases do differ, past performance does not guarantee future results.
 

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OR THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE D.C. BAR