The Raisins of Wrath: The Constitutionality of Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts Following Horne v. USDA
27 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2017
Date Written: 2016
Interest on lawyers' trust accounts (IOLTA) are programs that require lawyers to remit their some of their clients' interest to the state. This money is used to fund legal aid programs. The Supreme Court, in a five-to-four 2003 decision in Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington, upheld such a program against a Fifth Amendment takings challenge. This note argues that in light of subsequent Supreme Court jurisprudence, the Court’s reasoning in Brown is no longer tenable. The culmination of the post-Brown jurisprudence is Horne v. United States Department of Agriculture. Although the accounts are creations of the state, the benefits that flow from them cannot be unconstitutionally conditioned. Because no linkage can be drawn between providing free legal aid and the provision of IOLTA accounts, the interest remission requirement is unconstitutional.
Keywords: Takings, Legal Ethics, Constitutional Law
JEL Classification: K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation