Lawyers’ Trust Accounts Board Helping to Secure Equal Access to Justice
Apply for an Exemption
Depending on the circumstances, an attorney may be excluded or exempt from maintaining an IOLTA Account.
If your full-time employment is such that you do not receive Rule 1.15 Funds, you are automatically excluded from the requirement to maintain a Pennsylvania IOLTA Account. Examples include full time employment in a corporate capacity, by local, state or federal government, as a law clerk, professor, or as a member of the judiciary. 204 Pa. Code 81.109(a).
If you do not receive Rule 1.15 Qualified Funds as the result of the practice of law in the Commonwealth, and you are not otherwise required to maintain Rule 1.15 Funds in a Trust Account in the Commonwealth, you are automatically excluded from the requirement to maintain a Pennsylvania IOLTA Account. 204 Pa. Code 81.109(a).
If you are retired or no longer practicing law, you are automatically excluded from the requirement to maintain a Pennsylvania IOLTA Account. 204 Pa. Code 81.109(a).
Exemptions are not automatic. If you believe you qualify, you must apply for an exemption from the IOLTA Board. Exemptions are valid for three years. 204 Pa. Code 81.109(e).
If an exemption is granted, all Qualified Funds handled by the attorney must be deposited in a non-interest bearing Trust Account. Pa.R.P.C. 1.15(n).
- Low balance
If the average daily balance of your current IOLTA account, as measured over twelve months, is less than $5,000, you may request an exemption.
- Bank service charges routinely exceed the income
If the bank service charges assessed on your current IOLTA account routinely exceed the interest earned, you may request an exemption.
- Extreme Impracticality
See 204 Pa. Code 81.109(d)(iii).
- Other compelling and necessitous reasons
See 204 Pa. Code 81.109(d)(iv).
How Do I Apply for an Exemption?
Send a written request to the IOLTA Board’s executive director. Identify the exemption category for which you are applying and explain why you qualify. For a low balance exemption or excessive service charges exemption, you must include bank statements for your current IOLTA Account from the last twelve months.