The Montana Supreme Court is asking for public comment on a proposal to change the rules on annual trust account and IOLTA reporting requirements to add a provision allowing for punishment by suspension for attorneys who fail to comply.
The State Bar of Montana Board of Trustees and the Montana Justice Foundation jointly petitioned the court to revise Rule 1.18(e)(1) of the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct to provide for the punishment.
The new rule would be similar to the rules regarding failure to submit proof of CLE compliance. The proposed revision would give the State Bar the authority to suspend Montana attorneys from the practice of law if they fail to file annual IOLTA certification as reflected in the sentence underlined below:
Filings . . . Failure to provide the certification may result in suspension from the practice of law in this state until the lawyer complies with the requirements of this rule. Such suspension will be effected pursuant to the Rules of the State Bar of Montana.
A suspension for noncompliance with reporting rules would be lifted once an attorney files the certification and pays a fee.
The court has ordered a 45-day comment period on the proposed rule change. Comments must be submitted by Monday, Oct. 31.