Can My Lawyer Put My Settlement Check in His Trust Account?

My case just settled.  I went to my lawyer’s office today, and signed the check and a release of all claims.  My lawyer then said that he needed to put the check in his trust account and I could have my money in about 10 days.  Can he do that?

Your lawyer is doing exactly what he should do.  Lawyers maintain trust accounts to hold client funds.  Your lawyer was required to deposit that check into his trust account and not disburse any funds until the check was paid by the issuing party’s bank. 

Some checks take as long as ten business days to clear.  Believe it or not, last year I had  a settlement check issued by a defendant bounce.  Thus, if I would have paid the money to my client without ensuring the check had been paid by the issuing bank I would have been giving my client money that belonged to another client.  That would create a big problem, both for my clients and for me.

So, your lawyer is handling this situation exactly the way he should handle it.  You should take some comfort knowing that he is protecting your money as required by the ethical principles applicable to the legal profession.