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South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
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RULE 2
CLIENT TRUST ACCOUNT SAFEGUARDS

With respect to client trust accounts required by Rule 1.15 of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct:

(a) only a lawyer admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction or a person under the direct supervision of the lawyer shall be an authorized signatory or authorize transfers from a client trust account;

(b) receipts shall be deposited intact and records of deposit should be sufficiently detailed to identify each item; and

(c) withdrawals shall be made only (i) by check payable to a named payee and not to cash, or (ii) by authorized electronic transfer. 

Comment

[1] Rule 2 enumerates minimal accounting controls for client trust accounts.  It also enunciates the requirement that only a lawyer admitted to the practice of law in this jurisdiction or a person who is under the direct supervision of the lawyer shall be the authorized signatory or be permitted to authorize electronic transfers from a client trust account.  While it is permissible to grant nonlawyer access to a client trust account, such access should be limited and closely monitored by the lawyer.  If a lawyer chooses to grant nonlawyer access to a client trust account, the nonlawyer must be an individual under the direct supervision and control of the lawyer.  A lawyer should never grant access to closing companies or other, similar entities.  The lawyer has a non-delegable duty to protect and preserve the funds in a client trust account and can be disciplined for failure to supervise subordinates who misappropriate client funds.  See Rules 5.1 and 5.3 of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.

[2] The requirement in paragraph (b) that receipts shall be deposited intact means that a lawyer cannot deposit one check or negotiable instrument into two or more accounts at the same time, a practice commonly known as a split deposit.