What is IOLTA
As the philanthropic focus of the North Carolina State Bar, we at North Carolina Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (NC IOLTA) provide access to justice by funding high-quality legal assistance.
What We Do
The North Carolina State Bar and the North Carolina Supreme Court established NC IOLTA in 1983 to generate income from lawyers’ trust accounts in order to fund civil legal services and other programs for the public's benefit. Civil legal aid plays a critical role in building a legal system that works for everyone, breaking down long-standing barriers to equity and creating strong communities across North Carolina.
We envision a North Carolina where all people can effectively meet their legal needs. By strengthening the justice system as a leader, partner, and funder, we improve the lives of North Carolinians and work toward this vision.
Since our inception, NC IOLTA has awarded over $105 million in grants to provide legal assistance for individuals, families, and children in all North Carolina counties. These grants support access to legal aid around important civil matters and protect basic human rights in areas including:
• Disability Rights
• Economic Stability
• Elder Abuse
• Evictions and Housing Discrimination
• Family Violence
• Healthcare Access
• Safe and Humane Jails
How it Works
Per the State Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers in North Carolina have a responsibility “to ensure equal access to our system of justice for all those who, because of economic or social barriers, cannot afford or secure adequate legal counsel.”
In recognition of this professional obligation, NC IOLTA works directly with lawyers and financial institutions across North Carolina to set up designated, interest-bearing IOLTA accounts. We then distribute the interest earned as funds to our grantees who, in turn, provide legal support services across our communities.
Funding provided from IOLTA accounts comes at no cost to the lawyer, law office, or client, and ensures fair treatment under the law for North Carolinians who otherwise lack access to critical legal services.