Keeping Trust Funds Safe
With an estimated $138 billion flowing through lawyers’ trust accounts in Alberta in a 12-month period (2020), the legal profession must be vigilant to keep trust funds safe.
The Law Society is committed to providing continuing education and risk management tools to support lawyers in keeping trust property safe.
New risks to the safety of trust property are constantly emerging. To maintain adequate accounting systems and procedures, lawyers must be wary of these risks and committed to continually assessing the safety and effectiveness of their accounting procedures. For more information, visit Trust Accounting & Safety – Law Society of Alberta.
We know that many lawyers rely heavily on their bookkeepers and other staff to handle their firm accounting. As part of firm practice management, delegating accounting responsibilities to trained staff is ideal, but doing so without proper oversight leads to increased risk.
Lawyers are responsible to educate themselves and protect their firms against fraud and theft. The responsible lawyer is accountable for:
- The controls in relation to and the operation of all law firm trust accounts and general accounts.
- The accuracy of all reporting requirements of the law firm and ensuring all reporting and filing requirements of the law firm are met.
- Ensuring all payment requirements of the law firm are met.
- Overseeing anyone who is delegated any or all these tasks.
For more helpful tips on how you can protect yourself, read the Guide for Effectively Managing Trust Safety Risk.