Often when you hire a lawyer, you will have to provide some payment in advance. The lawyer must deposit that money in a bank account called a trust account.
The lawyer will then withdraw from the account as work is done for you and billed to you. Any unused funds will be returned to you when the work is complete.
Interest earned on most trust accounts is paid to the Law Foundation of British Columbia, which is a non-profit foundation created by legislation in 1969. This interest goes towards funding of:
- legal education
- legal research
- legal aid
- law reform
- law libraries
Only the interest on funds held in a lawyers pooled trust account maintained in financial institutions goes to the Law Foundation.
If you wish to receive interest on funds you pay a lawyer in trust, you must give your specific instructions to place the funds in other than a pooled trust account. You would then be responsible for any taxes that may be due based on this interest.
Trust Protection Coverage
Since 1949, the Law Society has provided financial protection so that innocent members of the public do not suffer hardship because of the actions of a dishonest lawyer.
If your lawyer has stolen money or other property from you, you may be entitled to make an insurance claim.
Although instances of theft are rare, lawyers value the public’s trust and do not want to see the integrity and reputation of the profession stained by the dishonest actions of a few.