The Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation (COLTAF) administers Colorado’s Interest on Lawyer 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, which assure fairness for all in our justice system, regardless of individual financial circumstances.
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 2016, COLTAF has made grants of nearly $39 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 Prime Partner Banks. COLTAF’s Prime Partners maximize resources for civil legal aid by providing the best rate of return on COLTAF deposits.
New Rule Governing Unclaimed Funds in COLTAF accounts. On November 3, 2016, the Colorado Supreme Court amended Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15B to allow lawyers to remit to COLTAF unclaimed funds held in the lawyer’s COLTAF account.
New Rule Directing At Least 50% of Any Class Action Residuals to COLTAF. On January 29, 2016, the Colorado Supreme Court amended Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 23 to require 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. The new rule is effective for class action settlements approved by district courts on or after July 1, 2016. Click here for a copy of the Rule Change.