Since 1984, the Mississippi Bar Foundation and The Mississippi Bar have worked with members of the Bar and with the banking community to administer the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Program. Lawyers' trust funds which are small in amount or held for a short period of time are now established in interest-bearing accounts in participating financial institutions throughout the state. The interest on these accounts is sent to the Mississippi Bar Foundation to be used for public purposes under guidelines set forth by the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Internal Revenue Service.
By Mississippi Supreme Court Order dated May 30, 1984,
Mississippi IOLTA Program funds have been designated for use solely
for the following purposes:
· to provide legal aid to the poor;
· to provide law-related education programs for the public;
· to improve the administration of justice; and
· for such other programs for the benefit of the public as are specifically approved from time to time by the Supreme Court of Mississippi for exclusively public purposes.
On May 18, 2006, the Supreme Court amended Rule 1.15 of the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct requiring lawyers to place all trust funds in an IOLTA account unless - in the lawyers' judgment - the funds can earn income for the client or third party in excess of the costs incurred to secure such income.
Please use the following links to access more information on the Mandatory IOLTA program.