Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection Announces Deadlines for Claims
For immediate release: June 16, 2010
For further information contact:
Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig
Kenneth J. Bossong, director of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, has announced that any person who intends to file a claim with the Fund involving any of the attorneys listed below must file prior to the deadlines listed.
The fund’s purpose is to pay on behalf of the honest majority of lawyers for the wrongdoing of the few who are suspended or disbarred for misappropriation. The fund was created by the New Jersey State Bar Association in 1961 with voluntary contributions from practicing lawyers as a commitment to high standards in the profession. At the request of the bar, the fund became an entity of the Supreme Court in 1969.
For a claim to be compensable, the attorney against whom it is filed must have been a member of the bar, acting as either attorney or fiduciary, at the time of the incident; and unless deceased, must have been disbarred or suspended from the Bar, or convicted of embezzlement or other misappropriation of property. The attorney’s conduct giving rise to the claim must have been dishonest, rather than negligent.
The issuance of the Supreme Court’s determination to suspend or disbar an attorney activates the fund’s jurisdiction to receive claims against that attorney. There is a one-year deadline after the discipline is issued to the attorney for clients to file claims. The client’s claim does not need to be included in the ethics determination in order to be compensable. Discipline of the attorney does not guarantee compensability for any specific claim. Attorneys can be disciplined for conduct other than misappropriation.
An individual client can receive up to $400,000 for claims arising after Jan.1, 2007, lesser amounts for claims arising prior to that date. The fund can provide up to $1.5 million in claims against a lawyer. Special permission can be granted by the Supreme Court to exceed the aggregate limit.
To receive a claim form, an individual should write to the New Jersey Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex, P.O. Box 961, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0961, or call 609-292-8008. The form must be completed, notarized and returned with copies of any proofs of the transaction. There is no filing fee. Claimants assisted in their claims by practicing attorneys receive their representation free of charge.