Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) is a unique and innovative way to increase access to justice for individuals and families living in poverty and to improve our justice system. Without taxing the public, and at no cost to lawyers or their clients, interest from lawyer trust accounts is pooled to provide civil legal aid to the poor and support improvements to the justice system.
IOLTA Program + Oklahoma Bar Foundation = big impact
The IOLTA Program and the Oklahoma Bar Foundation’s Fellows Programs provide funding to law-related non-profit organizations who provide the services listed above. To see a list of Grantees click here: OBF Grantees
The Oklahoma IOLTA program was first implemented by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 1983. Rule 1.15 of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct was amended during 2004 to make participation in the program mandatory for all Oklahoma Bar Association members and law firms that hold qualifying funds. This requirement applies to all client and third-party funds that are: (i) nominal in amount; or (ii) held for a short period of time. These funds are held in a pooled interest-bearing demand account with the interest earned being transferred to the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts receipts are allocated by the Oklahoma Bar Foundation annually in the form of grant awards for the following purposes:
- To provide delivery of civil legal services to the poor and elderly
- To promote quality education of the law and legal issues
- To improve and promote the administration of justice and law-related programs for the benefit of the public
Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) programs similar to Oklahoma’s operate throughout the United States, Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands. IOLTA programs generate funds that are used to support legal aid services, to provide legal education for the public, and for other activities that improve the quality of and access to justice.