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End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library

As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.

Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.

We regret any inconvenience.

Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Colorado Legal Ethics

1.15   Rule 1.15 Safekeeping Property

1.15:100   Comparative Analysis of Colorado Rule

Primary Colorado References: CO Rule 1.15
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.15, Other Jurisdictions
Commentary:

1.15:101      Model Rule Comparison

Whereas MR 1.15 is entitled “Safekeeping Property”, Colo.RPC 1.15 is entitled “Safekeeping Property; Interest Bearing Accounts to be Established for the Benefit of the Client or Third Persons for the Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation.” The difference in title in part reflects the difference in scope of the two rules, Colo.RPC 1.15 being very extensive in its terms. The Colorado Supreme Court amended the Colorado Rule effective in part January 1, 1999 and in part July 1, 1999. The references here are to the rule as amended.

Subsections (a) of the Colorado and Model Rules vary in several respects. There is a minor difference in the structure of the first sentence of Colo.RPC 1.15(a) and MR 1.15(a), regarding an attorney's duty to hold client and third-party property separate from the attorney's own property; however, the content of the rules' first sentences is the same. In a significant change, Colo.RPC 1.15(a) requires an attorney to maintain complete records regarding the lawyer's handling of client funds and property for seven years after termination of the representation, while MR 1.5(a) requires the records to be preserved for only five years after termination of the representation.

Subsections (b) of the Colorado and Model Rules are substantially the same, with one exception. Colo.RPC 1.15(b) omits the Model Rule's requirement that an attorney "promptly notify the client or third person" of the receipt of funds or property in which a client or third person has an interest. The Colorado Rule instead requires the attorney to promptly deliver the property to the client or third person. Both the Colorado and Model Rules recognize exceptions to the prompt delivery obligation where the law otherwise permits the lawyer to not promptly deliver the property or where the client has agreed to a delay in delivery; MR 1.15(b) also recognizes an exception for other dispositions of property in accordance with that rule.

Subsections (c) of the Colorado and Model Rules are identical.

Colo.RPC 1.15(d)-(j) have no counterpart in the Model Rules. Subsection (d) defines "accounts" as that word is used in the Colorado Rule. Colo.RPC 1.15(e) prescribes the disposition of interest earned on funds belonging to clients or third persons, including the deposit of nominal amounts or amounts expected to be held for only a short time in pooled interest-bearing accounts for the benefit of the Colorado Lawyers Trust Account Foundation ("COLTAF"). Subsection (f) sets forth specific requirements for lawyers' separate operating, trust, and other fiduciary accounts. Colo.RPC 1.15(g) specifies the accounting records that attorneys and firms must maintain for seven years after the event that they record. Subsections (h), (i) and (j) address, respectively, the type and location of accounting records, the effect of dissolution of a firm on the lawyers' record maintenance obligations, and the availability of accounting records for use in disciplinary proceedings.

The Colorado Comment essentially tracks the MR Comment with two differences. First, the Colorado Comment contains a paragraph regarding the lawyer's obligation to deposit funds into COLTAF accounts. Second, the Colorado Comment includes a reference to Colo.RPC 1.16(d) "for standards applicable to retention of client papers."

1.15:102      Model Code Comparison

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1.15:110      Colorado IOLTA Plan

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1.15:120      Colorado Client Security Fund

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1.15:200   Safeguarding and Safekeeping Property

Primary Colorado References: CO Rule 1.15(a)
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.15(a), Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA § 45:101, ALI-LGL §§ 56-58, Wolfram § 4.8

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1.15:210      Status of Fee Advances [see also 1.5:420]

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1.15:220      Surrendering Possession of Property

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1.15:230      Documents Relating to Representation

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1.15:300   Holding Money as a Fiduciary for the Benefit of Clients or Third Parties

Primary Colorado References: CO Rule 1.15(b)
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.15(b), Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA § 45:101, ALI-LGL § 56, Wolfram § 4.8

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1.15:400   Dispute Over Lawyer's Entitlement to Funds Held in Trust

Primary Colorado References: CO Rule 1.15(c)
Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.15(c), Other Jurisdictions
Commentary: ABA/BNA § 45:101, ALI-LGL §§ 56-57, Wolfram § 4.8

[The discussion of this topic has not yet been written.]