Although most practitioners have been for a long time, prior to November 1, 2018, there was no ethical obligation to pay a client`s advance into a client trust account for attorney fees. Advances for expenses incurred were to be paid into a client`s trust account, but no advances on lawyers` fees (see Rule 4-100 (eff. before November 1, 2018)). However, in accordance with Rule 1.15(a), the general rule is that advance payments of fees and charges must be made to a customer discount account. Funds may only be transferred from this account to pay fees or charges if they are incurred, earned and payable under the contract agreement. There is an exception to this general rule for lump sum fees, which is explained below. The challenge therefore remained that the legal distribution of fees in the retainer agreement between the client and the lawyer somehow violated ethical prohibitions. No, because it`s different from recommendation or cost-sharing agreements, which was actually between clients With the passage of the new ethical rules in November 2018, California joined the vast majority of lawyers who ask lawyers to deposit all client funds into a trusted account (CTA), including advanced attorneys` fees. The old rule 4-100 only required deposits for fees that had to be filed in an AOC.