The vast majority of IOLTA participating financial institutions choose to waive fees on IOLTA accounts to help more people access justice in Wisconsin.
However, consistent with Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule 20:1.15, limited fees can be charged against IOLTA interest. The allowable reasonable fees may be deducted from interest earned or dividends paid on an IOLTA account, such that charges shall be calculated in accordance with an IOLTA participating financial institution’s standard practice for non-IOLTA customers. If non-IOLTA customers are not charged some or all of the allowable fees, financial institutions are prohibited from charging those fees to IOLTA accounts. The only exception to this is an approved administrative fee (see below).
Fees in excess of the interest earned or dividends paid on the IOLTA account for any month or quarter shall not be taken from interest or dividends of any other IOLTA accounts. Fees in excess of the interest earned or dividends paid on a monthly basis shall not be taken from interest or dividends of another month’s interest in that same quarterly reporting period. No fees that are authorized under this policy shall be assessed or deducted from the principal of any IOLTA account. All other fees are the responsibility of, and may be charged to, the lawyer or law firm maintaining the IOLTA account though IOLTA participating financial institutions may elect to waive any or all fees on IOLTA accounts. For more information about charging the lawyer or law firm a non-allowable fee, please contact Wisconsin’s Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) at (877) 315-6941, ext. 2.
The practice of using business analysis accounts for IOLTA accounts is a practice that could possibly violate attorney ethics rules by allowing the attorney/law firm to receive business benefits based on client funds they hold in trust. WisTAF strongly discourages banks from offering business analysis products as IOLTA eligible products in order to avoid an inadvertent appearance of impropriety on an attorney’s or law firm’s part in handling funds held in trust for their clients. Please refer to SCR 20:1.15 (d)(4) for a description of the types of accounts allowed as IOLTA accounts.