California Supreme Court: Approves Client Trust Account Protection Program

By Merrill Balassone

The California Supreme Court has approved a State Bar of California proposal to establish the Client Trust Account Protection Program, effective Jan. 1, 2023.

The court went beyond the State Bar’s original proposal by requiring that several obligations be met. The original proposal only authorized the State Bar to impose such requirements.

Under this program (adding new California Rule of Court, rule 9.8.5), every licensed California attorney will be required to:

  1. Report whether they are responsible for managing a client trust account;
  2. If so, attest they are knowledgeable about and compliant with the applicable rules; and
  3. Provide the State Bar with the account numbers and the financial institutions for all such accounts.

The new rule also authorizes the State Bar to require licensed attorneys to complete an annual self-assessment and to select attorneys each year to submit to a compliance audit by a certified public accountant.

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