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Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15

Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15

Definition

The ethical rule that governs lawyers’ safekeeping of property. The rule requires that a lawyer hold separate from the lawyer’s own property the property of clients or third parties that the lawyer possesses in connection with a representation. Funds must be kept in a separate account maintained in the state where the lawyer’s office is located, while other property must be appropriately safeguarded. Complete records of funds and other property must be kept by the lawyer and preserved for five years after the representation is terminated. Lawyers are required to deposit into a client trust account legal fees and expenses that the client has paid in advance and may withdraw the funds only as fees are earned or expenses are incurred. A lawyer must promptly notify a client or third party upon receiving funds or property in which the client or third party has an interest, promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or property that the client or third person is entitled to receive, and provide an accounting upon request. When a lawyer possesses property in which two or more people claim interests, the lawyer must keep the property separate until the dispute is resolved.

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