Basics for General and Trust Accounts

Your law firm trust account should only be used for the deposit and retention of trust money received by your firm in connection with the 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 reason (Rules of the Law Society of Alberta, Rule 119.19). You or your firm cannot benefit from having funds in a trust account (Rule 119.20).

Pursuant to Rule 119.34(1), a law firm must record all financial transactions in a permanent and legible format.  They must maintain an electronic backup of the prescribed financial records which is updated monthly and tested semi-annually. (Rule 119.34(4)). 

The financial records that you are required to maintain are set out in Rule 119.35. 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 119.27). When you receive trust money from a client, you must deposit them into a pooled trust account on or before the next banking day (Rule 119.22(1)).

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, a general account must not be used for any banking purpose not related to the law firm’s business or to conduct personal banking (Rule 119.15(2)).

Last modified: Monday, 21 August 2023, 10:41 AM