For trust accounting records, what happens if my bank doesn’t return deposit slips?

CosmoLex Team

As part of proper trust account record keeping, law firms are required to keep copies of deposit slips associated with the account. In the event of an audit, these slips help to create a paper trail to verify what your books say. Without them, an auditor could be left wondering what actually happened with the funds. In some cases, banks … Read More

What is the difference between a flat fee agreement and a retainer?

CosmoLex Team

When you develop your pricing structure and client payment options for your law firm, you’ll need to evaluate a number of issues. Hourly billing, contingency fees, alternative fee structures, and more. However, questions often arise over one topic in particular: the differences between flat fee agreements and a retainer. For firms using a flat fee arrangement (also known as “fixed … Read More

When can a lawyer take money out of a retainer?

CosmoLex Team

Retainers are helpful resources for law firms to manage their client’s payments. Not only do they provide funds to kick start their working relationship, but they also make it easier to pay invoices. Retainers are often paid into an Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTAs). Attorneys are entitled to pay themselves out of the account as they complete client work. … Read More

How can I do a three-way reconciliation?

CosmoLex Team

For law firms, conducting regular three-way reconciliations[1] is not an option if they handle trust. Bar associations require these reconciliations as a way to verify that lawyers are fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities and recording and tracking client funds properly. Many people are familiar with the traditional two-way reconciliations where you compare your checkbook balance to your bank statement. If the … Read More

What is considered a misappropriation of trust accounting funds?

CosmoLex Team

Every state has their own rules regarding trust accounts, but they all prohibit the misappropriation of client funds. In order to avoid actions that can be interpreted as misappropriation and land you in an ethics violation, and even possibly result in being disbarred, you should be aware of what it constitutes. As an example of how serious the consequences can … Read More