Protection of property of clients and third parties

 

General principle

A Member shall account promptly and faithfully for and prudently hold any property of clients or third parties that comes into the lawyer’s trust and shall keep it separate from the lawyer’s own property.

Explanatory note

A Member shall hold property of clients or third parties that is in the lawyer’s possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer’s own business or personal property. Client or third-party funds should be held in a separate bank account and not commingled with the lawyer’s own funds. Property other than funds should be identified as such and appropriately safeguarded.

Complete records of such funds and other property shall be kept by the Member and shall be preserved after termination of a representation to the extent required by applicable law or professional regulations.

The Member should ascertain the identity, competence and authority of the third person that is transferring the possession of the property or the funds. Upon receiving funds or other property in which a client or third person has an interest, the lawyer shall promptly notify the client or third person.

Except as permitted by law or by agreement with the client, a lawyer shall promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive and, upon request by the client or third person, shall promptly render a full accounting regarding such property.

A Member cannot use a client’s property or client’s funds to set off or compensate any outstanding payment of the Member’s professional fees or expenses unless so is authorised by law or in writing by the client.