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The president of the Virginia State Bar is proposing random audits of lawyer trust accounts.

Lawyers use trust accounts to temporarily hold real estate proceeds or retainers until they are disbursed to a third party or -- once a fee is earned -- to the lawyer.

It is a severe violation of professional conduct for a lawyer to mingle trust account money with personal funds or operating money.

But it does happen.

According to the state bar, a Virginia Beach attorney had his license revoked after he wrote 72 checks that he couldn't cover from 2002 to 2005. The checks totaled $3.3 million.

Bar president and Norfolk lawyer Howard Martin Junior says will make the audit proposal to the bar's executive committee next month. The American Bar Association recommends that every state conduct random audits to protect the public.




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