Accounting 101 for Attorneys (2018 Edition)


CLE credits earned: 2 GENERAL (or 2 LAW & LEGAL for WA state)

QuickBooks Desktop is in use in thousands of small law firms throughout the US. The program is capable of handling many of the needs of these firms, as long as it is set up properly and transactions are entered correctly and consistently. One of the trickiest record-keeping tasks for law firms is the proper handling of client monies held in trust.

You may have more than one Client Trust or IOLTA account, and these can be handled in a single company file, provided proper steps are taken. Please note we will use the terms trust account and IOLTA account interchangeably. While we recognize that there is a difference, the basic processes are the same. It is important to note that QuickBooks will NOT prevent you from overdrawing a single customer’s trust account.

Knowing how to properly managing your client’s trust accounts is crucial for any law firm. As an attorney, you are the fiduciary of your client’s money, which comes with great responsibility that if not strictly adhered to, may lead to disbarment. This presentation will review basic trust accounting principles, key definitions and best practices. We will also be reviewing Florida Bar trust account rules and applicable ethics opinions as examples of trust accounting requirements. The goal of this presentation is to inform attorneys on the importance of keeping accurate trust account records for your clients, the ethical requirements that must be followed, and the serious consequences of failing to follow these rules.

Key topics to be discussed:

•   Manage retainers and billable hours
•   Organize accounting operations
•   Update everything automatically
•   6 key numbers every entrepreneur should know
•   Ethical Considerations

Date / Time: May 1, 2019

•   2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern
•   1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central
•   12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Mountain
•   11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.

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Original Broadcast Date: May 10, 2018

Eric Gros-Dubois,

With a JD and MBA, Eric is the consummate business lawyer. Eric views legal issues through a commercial lens and becomes a trusted legal and business advisor to business clients.

Before founding EPGD Attorneys at Law, Mr. Gros-Dubois was a partner at a Washington, DC firm focusing on business transactions, tax controversies, and estate & trust planning. He later was with a Miami, Florida law firm specializing in commercial transactions and business litigation.
Mr. Gros-Dubois was raised in Dallas, Texas, attended Jesuit College Prep, and attended Southern Methodist University, during which time he lived and studied in Paris, the south of France. He is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. After living and working in New York and Costa Rica, he attended the Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., completed his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 2007 and his Masters in Business Management (MBA) with a specialization in Finance from the Kogod School of Business in 2008. In business school he became a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor fraternity. In 2010 he sat for, and passed, Level I of the Chartered Financial Analyst Exam.

While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Mr. Gros-Dubois interned with a law firm focused on complex medical malpractice litigation. In law school he spent a summer with a non-profit organization, interned with a private equity group, and devoted a semester to the Federal Tax Clinic representing taxpayers before the U.S. Tax Court.

Mr. Gros-Dubois has been admitted to practice law in the State of New York (2008), the State of Maryland (2008), the District of Columbia (2009), the State of Florida (2010), before the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the Federal District Court for Maryland, and the U.S. Tax Court (2008). He is also a member of bar associations in New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Florida, Miami-Dade County, Coral Gables, and the American Bar Association. In 2015 Mr. Gros-Dubois was recognized by Florida Trend as an “Up and Comer” Legal Elite.

Eric is a marathon runner, enthusiastic cook, and a member of a racing team at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. He is actively involved in charity work, including serving as the secretary of the Mission of the Heart, Inc. Eric is also a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, and the current President of the Rotary Club of Brickell. He is a Trustee Diplomat of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Coral Gables Bar Association, a member of the Coral Gables Chapter of the Florida Lawyer’s Network (FLN), the vice president of BNI Coral Gables, a former member of the International Affairs Coordinating Counsel for the Sister-Cities of Coral Gables on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Junior Orange Bowl, Co-Chair of the annual Jr. Orange Bowl chess tournament, a Merrick Society Member of the Coral Gables Community Foundation, and a member of the board of directors of Global Ties Miami (formerly the Miami Council for International Visitors). Finally, he currently serves as the President of his home owner’s association.

Brian A. George, is the Managing Partner of CALAS Group LLC, a globally recognized Accounting and Financial Services firm, with three locations in Florida, as well as two international offices. A 20+ year expert of the industry, he specializes in providing small to medium size business owners a fixed fee based relationship to their accounting and tax preparation needs so that they can concentrate on growing their bottom line versus the paperwork/regulations.

Mr. George has dealt with a wide range of business operations, including: law firms, hotels, manufacturers; contractors; wholesale and retail operations, and other service organizations. Mr. George has previously worked for Merrill Lynch, Solomon Smith Barney and BrookStreet Securities with titles as Vice President and ultimately as a Residential Branch Manager for 11 offices in South and Central America.

Mr. George, is a Certified Financial Manager and received his Associates Degree in Accounting Technology from Miami Dade College; Dual Bachelors of Science Degree in Finance and International Business from American University, Masters in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University, Certificate in Operations Management from Universitarias Nebrisensis, FIBA-FIU Certification in Anti-Money Laundering and his Doctoral Degree from University of Phoenix.

A recognized adjunct professor for various institutions including American University in Washington DC; Mr. George brings a passion for learning and assisting others in the community. Mr. George is combat veteran and continues to serves as a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves, specializing in counter threat finance methods to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately destroy transnational criminal/terrorist organizations.

Mr. George is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Coral Gables Bar Association, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Hospitality Vendors Network, and Venezuelan Business Council.

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Section I. Effective legal accounting starts with software people can use
a) Manage retainers and billable hours
b) Set up invoicing for legal fees
c) Organize accounting operations
d) Update everything automatically

Section II. Ethics
a) Section I. Introduction to Trust Accounts
        i. Common Scenarios
        ii. Purpose of Trust Accounts
        iii. Ethical Duties for Attorneys
b) Section II. Establishing Trust Accounts
        i. Paying Account Expenses
        ii. Signatory Requirements
        iii. Commingling Funds
        iv. IOLTAs