Washington Law Review


Jay Carlson


Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) programs exist in all fifty states and raise significant funding for legal services for the poor. A recent series of federal court lawsuits seeks to eliminate IOLTA programs on the grounds that they violate the Fifth and First Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Washington Legal Foundation v. Legal Foundation of Washington, currently on appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, is one such lawsuit challenging Washington State's IOLTA program. In Phillips v. Washington Legal Foundation, a similar case from Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that funds raised through IOLTA represent "property" for the purposes of Fifth Amendment takings analysis. The Phillips ruling gives new momentum to the ongoing constitutional challenges to IOLTA. This Comment examines Legal Foundation of Washington in light of the Supreme Court's holding in Phillips and argues that the constitutional challenge to Washington's IOLTA program is without merit and should be rejected by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

First Page