For more than ten years, the Minnesota State Bar Association has provided guides to help its members set up lawyer’s trust accounts with commercially available software programs. Mike Trittipo, the MSBA’s director of technology, has been drafting and editing the guides since 1998, when he started with Using QuickBooks 6.0 for Lawyers’ Trust Accounting. In the last two years, we’ve added guides for GnuCash and updated prior versions of the QuickBooks guides. We now have Keeping Clients’ Trust Accounts with QuickBooks 2010 Professional and there’s talk now about completing one for a cloud-based accounting program.
Until today, however, the guides have always been a member-only benefit, locked behind our membership wall. Today, we are pleased to release all of our trust accounting guides publicly.
Why? A couple of reasons. One, we typically provide the trust accounting guides upon request to any attorneys who request one, whether a member, non-member, or even if the attorney practiced in Missouri and had no connection to Minnesota. It seemed reasonable to help attorneys who wanted to set up their IOLTAs correctly. It makes sense now to open it up not only to those who ask, but any attorneys who simply seek it out. Why not benefit the profession as a whole, arguably at the expense of diminishing the value of being an MSBA member?We’ve decided to go with the benefit to the profession.
Part of the decision comes shortly after a rave review we received for Minnesota Legal Ethics, an eBook we helped produce with legal ethics expert Bill Wernz. We’re giving that away too, a fact not lost on a recent reviewer, who said:
Due to the Minnesota State Bar’s commendably public-spirited financial and editorial assistance, the treatise is absolutely free to anyone and everyone seeking a copy. If only the American Bar Association and some other state and local bars around the country took a similarly public-spirited approach. I appreciate that bars make money selling books, ethics opinions, and the like. But a price tag inevitably curtails circulation and severely limits the bars’ public outreach and the usefulness of these publications to the bar and the public. Hats off to the MSBA!
The last straw came last week when I was attending an ABA Tech Show session. Rodney Dowell was speaking about open-source software and, when trust accounting software came up, he naturally brought up the open-source program GnuCash. He then noted that the only available GnuCash guide was under the MSBA’s membership lock and key.
It didn’t have to be that way. And that’s what nice about today’s release. We hope it benefits you, but we also hope it benefits the legal profession as a whole. Let us know.
Five trust accounting guides are available, each as a PDF document:
- Keeping Client Trust Accounts with GnuCash 2.2.4;
- Keeping Records for Client Trust Accounts Using Microsoft Office Accounting 2006 or 2007;
- Using QuickBooks 6.0 for Lawyers’ Trust Accounting;
- Trust Accounting with QuickBooks 2005 Professional;
- Keeping Clients’ Trust Accounts with QuickBooks 2010 Professional
Want one? Click on a link below and complete a form, which requires an email and your name. Why a form? We continue to update the guides and giving us an email lets us send out updates when they are available. It also lets us know where in the world we end up sending our guides.Request a Copy
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