IOLTA is an acronym that stands for “Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts." IOLTA exists in all 50 states to help fund nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal aid services for low-income people with nowhere else to turn. The Washington Supreme Court created the Legal Foundation of Washington (LFW) in 1985 to administer IOLTA funds and other available revenue.
The IOLTA program in our state serves two purposes. First, it helps ensure that legal professionals—lawyers, limited practice officers (LPOs), and limited license legal technicians (LLLTs)—appropriately manage funds that belong to their clients. Secondly, it allows interest to be earned on nominal or short term deposits held in pooled client trust accounts, with the interest remitted directly to LFW for distribution to civil legal aid programs.
LFW does not regulate banks, lawyers, LPOs, or LLLTs. In addition to administering the IOLTA funds, we work closely with banks and lawyers to inform choices made about participation in the IOLTA program. We collaborate with the Washington State Bar Association the Washington Supreme Court and other stakeholders to ensure that the IOLTA rules are properly enforced.
Frequently Asked Questions about IOLTA
FOR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ONLY: