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An attorney trust account is unlike any other bank account. Unique rules apply, and most lawyers don’t know them, so solos and small firms tremble at the thought of an ethics audit.  Attorneys in large firms are usually less troubled, either because they have no contact with that account or because a dedicated team or individual is assigned the task of maintaining it. Accordingly, for some of our readers the information here is important, while for others it may seem to have no relevance. But it has.

That’s because attorneys in larger firms often leave their Big Law nests and come to roost in much smaller ones where their duties may include setting up and maintaining an ATA, writing trust checks or making deposits into trust. A degree in accounting won’t help. Only knowledge of the rules will. Because of that, transplanted big-firm lawyers who have not read the rules create frequent problems for the auditors and often find themselves on the receiving end of discipline. 

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