The Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation (COLTAF) administers Colorado’s Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. This program is an innovative partnership between the legal community and the banking community, whereby the interest on lawyers’ pooled trust accounts is used to improve access to civil justice. IOLTA programs operate in all fifty states and in the District of Columbia, and provide essential funding for civil legal aid.
COLTAF was established in 1982 by the Colorado Supreme Court, in response to dramatic cuts in federal funding for civil legal aid. From 1982 through 2018, COLTAF has made grants of over $40 million dollars. Approximately 80% of these funds have gone to Colorado’s federally-funded legal aid programs. The other 20% have gone to pro bono programs, domestic violence programs, and other justice-related programs.
COLTAF’s only regular source of revenue is the interest earned on COLTAF accounts at banks across the state. Lawyers can support COLTAF and Colorado’s civil legal aid delivery system by maintaining their COLTAF accounts at COLTAF’s Leadership Banks. COLTAF’s Leadership Banks maximize resources for civil legal aid by providing a premium rate of return on COLTAF deposits.
Rules Governing Lawyers’ Trust Accounts.
Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15A – General Duties of Lawyers Regarding Property of Clients and Third Parties
Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15B – Account Requirements
Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15C – Use of Trust Accounts
Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15D – Required Records
Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15E – Approved Institutions
Rule Governing Unclaimed Funds in COLTAF Accounts. Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15B(k) allows lawyers to remit to COLTAF unclaimed funds held in the lawyer’s COLTAF account.
Rule Directing At Least 50% of Any Class Action Residuals to COLTAF. Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 23 requires that at least fifty percent (50%) of any class action residuals be disbursed to COLTAF to support activities and programs that promote access to the civil justice system for low income residents of Colorado.