3.4 Basics for General and Trust Accounts
Your law firm trust account should be used only for the deposit and retention of trust money received by your firm in connection with its practice of law and related directly to the provision of legal services. You cannot use your trust account to receive or disburse money for any other reasons (Rules of the Law Society of Alberta, Rule 119.17). You or your firm cannot benefit from having funds in a trust account (Rule 119.17.1(1)).
Pursuant to Rule 119.36(1), your records must be legible (and in ink or other permanent form). They may also be “printed” to PDF and stored electronically (Rule 119.36(5)).
The financial records that you are required to maintain are set out in Rule 119.36. Some of these items are reviewed in greater detail in the next chapter of this Module.
You should post trust transactions as soon as they occur. If you approve a payment out of your trust account, you are certifying that the accounting records are current as of the date of signature (Rule 119.21). When you receive trust funds from a client, you must deposit them into a pooled trust account on or before the next banking day (Rule 119.19(1)).
The Law Society may at any time order a compliance audit of your books, records and accounts to ensure they are properly maintained. If this occurs, you must immediately produce all records and supporting documentation, including client files (Rule 119.33(3)).