Trust Account

Trust Account BookLawyers' Trust Accounts: A Handbook on the Rules Governing the Duties of Lawyers to Account for Client Funds and Property

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Several years ago, CBA General Counsel Terry Patterson was looking for materials to improve the Supreme Court's New Lawyer Training Program and could find no suitable, affordable trust account manual. He turned to CBA member John J. Mueller, who, years earlier, had prepared a law office management outline for new bar admittees. Mueller readily agreed to update those materials, with an emphasis on trust accounts.

"I had met new lawyers who had never heard of IOLTA," Patterson says. At the same time, the Certified Grievance Committee was involved in the investigation and prosecution of several grievances based on trust account violations by seasoned lawyers. "Trust accounting may not be a popular subject," he said. "But it can lead to trouble across the board - civil liability, discipline, and even unintentional criminal conduct."

Mueller delivered the outline for New Lawyer Training, then additional chapters kept on coming over the next year. Working through several rewrites and drawing upon the editorial expertise of others, a full-fledged book evolved. "The first five chapters are like a hornbook for those at any stage of the profession," Patterson says. "The last chapter is a kind of CliffsNotes on what to do next."

"It is important to understand the case law on what constitutes co-mingling," Mueller said. "Attorneys don't mean to violate the rules, they just don't have the practical guidance to help them set things up appropriately."

Thanks to a grant from the Cincinnati Bar Foundation, Lawyers' Trust Accounts: A Handbook on the Rules Governing the Duties of Lawyers to Account for Client Funds and Property is now available for purchase. Single copies are $18 including shipping costs. Contact Stephanie Powell at or (513) 699-1407 to place an order or for more information.

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