By: Daily Record Staff//September 26, 2015
By: Daily Record Staff//September 26, 2015//
NYSBA Committee on Judicial Ethics
Attorney Escrow Accounts
Authorizing Non-Lawyer to Manage
Ethics Opinion 1060
Background: A firm wants to have a staff member of the firm, who is not a lawyer, direct a bank to open individual sub-accounts under a master lawyer escrow account maintained by the bank for the law firm. The law firm wishes to authorize the non-lawyer staff member to direct the bank to transfer funds from any sub-account to the master account.
Opinion: The committee concluded that a law firm may authorize a non-legal staff member to direct its bank to open law firm escrow sub-accounts, and to transfer funds from a sub-account to the master escrow account, in name of a lawyer admitted in New York State and under a lawyer’s direction, provided that the law firm exercises close supervision over the non-lawyer, and withdrawals from the master escrow account can only be authorized by a lawyer submitted in New York state. The supervising attorney must retain professional responsibility for the non-lawyer’s conduct.