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Foundation urges attorneys to seek a higher return on IOLTAs

A drastic decrease in the amount of funds available for civil legal aid for low-income Ohioans has led the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation to encourage attorneys to invest their IOLTA accounts with banks that pay higher interest.

Each Ohio attorney—or the attorney’s employer—who holds the funds of clients that are nominal in amount or for a short period of time must have an IOLTA. Interest from IOLTAs funds the foundation, which distributes these funds to the state’s legal aid societies to provide free legal aid to the poor.

The foundation created the “Prime Partners” program to recognize banks that pay a higher interest rate, said Angela M. Lloyd, foundation executive director and Ohio State Bar Association member. Key Bank and PNC are the first Prime Partners financial institutions.

Lloyd said the foundation has experienced about an 80 percent decline in IOLTA/IOTA revenue since 2007.

“Attorneys can still meet their ethical and legal requirements by banking on justice,” Lloyd said. “But at the same time, they can create more revenue to help more Ohioans have access to justice.”

For more information, visit the Prime Partners page on the foundation’s website.

Content courtesy of Court News Ohio.

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