The annual trust account certification deadline is June 30, although that is a Sunday so certifications will be accepted through 11:59 PM on July 1. As of today 7,174 of the 11,795 bar members required to submit certifications have done so, a certification rate of 60%. Foundation staff have received a number of questions from bar members about the certification process. I will address some of the most common questions below. Be aware though that we are changing software systems for 2014 so next year the actual certification process will work a little differently.
Do I have to complete a certification even if I work for a corporation, nonprofit or the government?
Yes, if you bought an occupational license in in 2012 you must complete a certification. You’re exempt from having an IOLTA account, but not exempt from certification. If you don’t have an IOLTA account you will choose either Option 2, which is for people who are engaged in the private practice of law but don’t hold client funds or Option 3, which is for corporate counsel, government employees, members of the military, law professors or public defenders.
People who work for public interest law firms, such as Legal Services Alabama or the Equal Justice initiative do hold funds in the organization’s IOLTA account so one person at the organization will submit a firm certification for everyone.
I’m an associate or partner in a firm so don’t have my own trust account.
If a law firm has a trust account(s) funds all client funds would go in the firm trust account(s). Therefore, you participate in IOLTA through your firm’s trust account. There are some firms of just a couple of people where each member has his/her own IOLTA account, but those are the exception and not the rule. Your firm administrator will complete a certification on behalf of the firm.
I’m completing a certification for my firm and am not sure if it went through.
Once you press the Submit button your information has been submitted. You will not get a confirmation, but we recommend printing a copy of your certification page for your records.
I’m a firm administrator and my login doesn’t work.
Most firm administrators having difficulty logging in are trying to login at the top of the web page, which is where individual members login. As you can see from the screen capture below the firm login is located in the center of the web page.