Tennesse Supreme Court Adopts New Rule of Professional Conduct Regarding Unidentified Trust Funds

On November 21, 2019, the Board of Professional Responsibility (the Board) and the Tennessee Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection (TLFCP) jointly petitioned the Tennessee Supreme Court to adopt new Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15(f) allowing attorneys to remit unidentified trust funds in a IOLTA account to Tennessee Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection. This amendment, which has been adopted in several jurisdictions, offers a practical solution to the dilemma of unidentified trust funds in an IOLTA account after an attorney has unsuccessfully attempted to ascertain ownership of the funds for 12 months. By Order filed June 5, 2020, the Tennessee Supreme Court adopted RPC 1.15(f). By using a form made available by the Board and TLFCP, a lawyer may remit unidentified funds to TLFCP. An attorney who remits funds in error may later file a claim for return of the funds. TLFCP will return funds remitted in error after verification.