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Some portions of the collection may already be severely out of date, so please be cautious in your use of this material.


Louisiana Legal Ethics

1.15   Rule 1.15 Safekeeping Property

1.15:100   Comparative Analysis of Louisiana Rule

¥ Primary Louisiana References: LA Rule 1.15
¥ Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.15, Other Jurisdictions
¥ Commentary:

1.15:101      Model Rule Comparison

The text of LRPC 1.15(a), (b) and (c) is identical to that in its counterpart, MR 1.15(a), (b) and (c). LRPC 1.15 adds Paragraph (d), which requires a lawyer to maintain his clientsÕ funds which are either small in amount or to be held for a short time in interest bearing accounts and pursuant to certain stipulations. MR 1.15 has no counterpart.

1.15:102      Model Code Comparison

LRPC 1.15(a) provides that a lawyer must hold the property of his client or a third party that is in his possession separate from his own. The lawyer is also required to keep records of the property for a period of five years after the representation terminates. DR 9-102(A) provides that all funds of a client paid by the client to his lawyer, excluding advances for costs and expenses, must be deposited in a bank account separate from any funds belonging to the lawyer or his firm. LRPC 1.15(a) does not allow an exception for funds advanced by the client for costs and expenses. In Louisiana, such funds must also be kept separate from the lawyerÕs property.

Another distinction is that DR 9-102(A) applies only to funds belonging to the client. Unlike LRPC 1.15(a), the Model Code does not address funds or property belonging to third parties. DR 9-102(B)(2), like LRPC 1.15(a), requires a lawyer to place his clientÕs property in safekeeping. While LRPC 1.15(a) allows the lawyer to keep such funds in a bank account or elsewhere with the consent of the client or third person, DR 9-102(A) requires that the funds be placed in a bank account. In both cases, when bank accounts are used, they must be accounts maintained in the state where the lawyerÕs office is located.

DR 9-102(B)(3) requires the lawyer to keep records of the clientÕs property in his possession and render accounts to his client. Unlike the five year requirement noted in LRPC 1.15(a), the Model Code does not set a time period for which these records must be retained. DR 9-102(B)(3) requires that the records be presented to the client. LRPC 1.15(b) only requires the lawyer to present the records to his client upon the clientÕs request.

Finally, DR 9-102(A)(1) allows funds belonging to a lawyer or law firm sufficient in amount to pay bank charges to be deposited in the account with the clientÕs funds. LRPC 1.15(a) makes no such provision.

LRPC 1.15(b) requires a lawyer to notify his client or a third person promptly after receiving property belonging to them. With few exceptions, the lawyer must promptly deliver the property or funds which the client or third person is entitled to receive and, if requested, provide an accounting of such property or funds to the client or third person. Likewise, DR 9-102(B) also requires a lawyer to notify his client when he receives funds or property belonging to the client. DR 9-102(B)(4) provides that the lawyer must deliver the funds or property the client is entitled to receive only upon the clientÕs request. LRPC 1.15(b) does not require a client or third party to request delivery, instead making such delivery an affirmative duty of the lawyer. As noted above, DR 9-102(B) does not apply to property of third persons.

When the lawyer is in possession of property claimed by both himself and another person, LRPC 1.15(c) requires the lawyer to keep the property, or the portion in dispute, separate until the dispute is resolved or until there is an accounting and severance of interests. Similarly, DR 9-102(A)(2) provides that funds claimed by both the lawyer and the client must be deposited separately from funds belonging to the lawyer or his firm. The disputed portion may not be withdrawn until the dispute is resolved. While both rules require the property to be kept separate from the lawyerÕs, the Model Code addresses only funds belonging to or claimed by the client. LRPC 1.15(c) applies to property claimed by the lawyer and another person, not just the client.

LRPC 1.15(d) provides detailed instructions on the type of account that may be used to hold client funds. The Model Code requires that the bank be in the state where the lawyerÕs office is located, but the type of account is not specified. DR 9-102(A).

1.15:110      Louisiana IOLTA Plan

This section has not yet been completed.

1.15:120      Louisiana Client Security Fund

This section has not yet been completed.

1.15:200   Safeguarding and Safekeeping Property

¥ Primary Louisiana References: LA 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

This section has not yet been completed.

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

This section has not yet been completed.

1.15:220      Surrendering Possession of Property

This section has not yet been completed.

1.15:230      Documents Relating to Representation

This section has not yet been completed.

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

¥ Primary Louisiana References: LA 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

This section has not yet been completed.

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

¥ Primary Louisiana References: LA 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

This section has not yet been completed.

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