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IOLTA Nuts & Bolts

ScalesWhat is IOLTA?
The South Carolina Supreme Court created the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts program (IOLTA) to provide funds for law related public service projects and programs designed to improve the administration of justice. Before the creation of IOLTA, nominal or short-term client funds held in escrow or trust were customarily pooled and deposited into non-interest bearing checking accounts. Such funds should be deposited in special interest-bearing IOLTA checking accounts at participating financial institutions. The interest generated on IOLTA accounts, less reasonable service charges, is automatically forwarded by financial institutions to the South Carolina Bar Foundation. The Foundation uses these funds to provide for charitable and educational law related public service projects and programs to improve the administration of justice in South Carolina.

History of the SC IOLTA Program


  • Established as a voluntary program in 1985
  • Converted by the Court to opt-out in 1986
  • Converted to mandatory in 2005


  • First awarded in 1987
  • More than $4.1 million in grant funding allocated for 2009 (July 2008 to June 2009)

How does IOLTA make a difference?
IOLTA invests in your community by:


Frequently Asked Questions

If you have additional questions, please contact us at (803) 765-0517 or via iolta@scbar.org.



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