As IOLTA shrinks, its advocates get creative

by Walter Olson on January 8, 2013

The idea of Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) programs in California and elsewhere is to skim off tiny sums from clients’ accounts, too small to be worth arguing about (isn’t that what class action theorists are always claiming defendants get away with?) to finance legal representation, sometimes for indigent clients, other times for “cause” litigation, the latter of which results in “a lot of unsuspecting clients funding things they may or may not have believed in.” With interest rates at prolonged lows, however, the sums raised by IOLTA have drooped, and California bar authorities have responded by burying new line items in dues renewals for voluntary levies — which have not, it seems, resulted in the hoped-for flood of lawyer contributions. [Charlotte Allen, L.A. Times](& Legal Ethics Forum)