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Using CD-ROM Digital Check Images for Trust Account Records

Adopted: January 18, 2002

Opinion rules that retaining a CD-ROM with digital images of trust account checks that is provided by the depository bank satisfies record-keeping requirements for trust accounts.


Rule 1.15-3(a)(2) of the Revised Rules of Professional Conduct provides that a lawyer must keep minimum records for a trust account that include either original canceled checks or "printed digital images thereof furnished by the bank."  C Banks, Inc. currently provides to its customers a CD-ROM that contains digital images of the fronts and backs of checks.  Once downloaded to a computer, the check images can be viewed on a computer monitor and printed.  There are protections against recording on or tampering with the digital images on the CD-ROM.  If tampering or counterfeiting of the digital images is suspected, the images or printed copies thereof can be compared to the original check images retained by C Banks, Inc.  C Banks, Inc. can provide the canceled checks to lawyers but prefers to provide the CD-ROM.

Some lawyers with trust accounts at C Banks are concerned that the CD-ROM does not satisfy Rule 1.15-3(a)(2).  If a lawyer receives only the CD-ROM, is the lawyer in compliance with the record keeping requirements of Rule 1.15-3(a)(2)?


The CD-ROM satisfies the record keeping requirements of Rule 1.15-3(a)(2) because digital images of the checks can be retrieved from the CD-ROM and printed when necessary.  (The CD-ROM also satisfies the minimum records requirements for dedicated trust accounts and fiduciary accounts set forth in Rule 1.15-3(b)(2).)   See also  G.S. §66-322(e) and G.S. §66-323.

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