Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA)

The Boston Bar Foundation is one of three distributors of Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) funds in Massachusetts. Through the IOLTA grants process, the Boston Bar Foundation has gained unique expertise in the legal services community for how to address the unmet legal needs of underserved Massachusetts residents.

The Supreme Judicial Court requires lawyers and law firms to establish interest-bearing accounts for client funds held for a short period of time. Interest on these accounts is then forwarded to the Massachusetts IOLTA Committee.

The Massachusetts IOLTA Committee then distributes the funds to the Boston Bar Foundation, Massachusetts Bar Foundation and Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation. IOLTA funds must be used to provide civil legal services to low-income clients or improve the administration of justice.

The Massachusetts IOLTA Committee publishes information on banks and credit unions that are recognized as “Leadership Institutions” for paying 1.31% on IOLTA funds. To see the current list of Leadership Institutions click here.

Our Core Funding Objectives

The BBF looks for applications from eligible Massachusetts nonprofits for projects that:

  • Provide civil legal services to low-income people and/or underserved populations, especially organizations and programs that address an unmet legal need.
  • Develop or strengthen pro bono programs through which the private bar delivers substantial voluntary legal services to low-income and underserved populations.
  • Demonstrably enhance the administration of justice in Massachusetts (i.e. improve the courts’ effectiveness, address systemic problems in the court system or provide information to low-income, underserved or special needs populations regarding their legal rights and/or accessibility to the courts).

For questions on applying for IOLTA funds through the Boston Bar Foundation, please contact Summer Colley, Executive Assistant, at or 617-778-1938.

Deadlines and Dates

Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Grant

FY19 IOLTA Mid-Year Report – due March 13, 2020
Click here to download the Mid-Year Report

Application Period for the FY20 IOLTA Grant – Closed

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