IOLTA History

IOLTA in Australia and Canada

IOLTA programs were first established in Australia and Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s to generate funds for legal services to the poor.

Today, there are IOLTA programs throughout the United States, including all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. There also are IOLTA programs throughout Canada’s ten provinces and three territories.


Florida First IOLTA Program in U.S.

In the late 1970s, The Florida Bar and other organizations filed a petition to establish the first IOLTA program in the United States. After legislation permitted the establishment of interest-bearing checking accounts in the early 1980s and the Florida advocates obtained important tax rulings from the IRS, the Florida Bar Foundation launched the first IOLTA program in 1981. Shortly thereafter, California, Idaho, Maryland, and others followed suit.


IOLTA Rebuffs Legal Challenges

IOLTA programs were established after much consideration and review to ensure adherence to the law. During the 1990s a series of cases challenged the IOLTA program concept, but in 2003, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of IOLTA. Please click here for more information about IOLTA litigation.


Video History