What is IOLTA?

In 1984, the Supreme Court of Texas established a mechanism for funding legal aid for low-income Texans by collecting interest on client trust accounts. Through the Texas Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Program, attorneys voluntarily pooled the interest earned on trust accounts to provide civil legal services to the poor. The same year, the Court created the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, a nonprofit corporation, to administer the program, including the collection and granting of IOLTA funds.

The voluntary IOLTA Program generated $500,000 for grants during 1987-88. In 1989, participation in the IOLTA Program became mandatory for Texas attorneys. The program in Texas currently generates approximately $12 million yearly without taxing the public and at no cost to lawyers or their clients. Only client funds that are nominal or held for a short period of time may be deposited into IOLTA accounts.

The interest on the IOLTA accounts is remitted to the Foundation, which grants the money to nonprofit organizations that provide free civil aid to low-income Texans.

The Rules Governing the Operation of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, adopted by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1988, prohibit the use of IOLTA funds to directly fund class action suits, lawsuits against governmental entities, or lobbying for or against political candidates or issues.

All fifty states and the District of Columbia have approved IOLTA programs. In Australia and Canada, where the IOLTA concept originated, the programs have been operating since the 1960s.

For more information about IOLTA at the national level, visit www.iolta.org.

Recent News


Sept. 19, 2016

Carlos M. Zaffirini, Jr., Apppointed to TAJF Board of Directors  

Sept. 14, 2016

TAJF Names 2016 Equal Justice Works Fellows

Aug. 22, 2016

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Aug. 10, 2016

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July 8, 2016

Help for sexual assault survivors - Corpus Christi Caller-Times  

July 8, 2016

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June 6, 2016

Investing in Justice: Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault. - Philanthropy Southwest

May 19, 2016

Undue process: Poor people lose homes, children and money without a lawyer - Salon.com

May 18, 2016

Military Sexual Assault Victims Discharged After Filing Complaints - Time 

May 9, 2016

Rape survivors on a mission to help others... - Dallas Morning News  

Apr. 6, 2016

Texas Legal Hotline Now Available for Sexual Assault Survivors

Feb. 22, 2016

North East Texas Credit Union Joins Prime Partner Program

Dec. 16, 2015

Statement on Fed Funds Rate Increase and Impact on IOLTA

Nov. 17, 2015

Western Bank Joins Prime Partner Program

Nov. 17, 2015

TAJF Honors Jim Harrington with Kleinman Award

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Nov. 4, 2015

Nov. 9- 13 is Texas Veterans Legal Aid Week

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TAJF Announces Grants for Veterans' Legal Services

Sept. 8, 2015

Two New Members Appointed to the TAJF Board


More news

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