APR 15 LAWYERS' FUND FOR CLIENT PROTECTION (a) Purpose. The purpose of this rule is to create a Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection, to be maintained and administered as a trust by the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA), in order to promote public confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession. (b) Establishment. There is established the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection (Fund). The Fund may be used for the purpose of relieving or mitigating a pecuniary loss sustained by any client by reason of the dishonesty of, or failure to account for money or property entrusted to, any member of the WSBA as a result of or directly related to the member's practice of law (as defined in GR 24) or while acting as a fiduciary in a matter directly related to the member's practice of law. The Fund may also be used to relieve or mitigate like loss sustained by persons by reason of similar acts of an individual who was at one time a member of the WSBA but who was, at the time of the act complained of, under court ordered suspension. The Fund shall not be used for the purpose of relieving any pecuniary loss resulting from an attorney's negligent performance of services or for acts performed after a member is disbarred. Payments from the Fund shall be considered gifts to the recipients and shall not be considered entitlements. (c) Funding. The Supreme Court may provide for funding by assessment of members of the WSBA in amounts determined by the court upon the recommendation of the Board of Governors of the WSBA. (d) Enforcement. Failure to pay any fee assessed by the court on or before the date specified by the court shall be a cause for suspension from practice until payment has been made. (e) Restitution. A lawyer whose conduct results in payment to an applicant shall be liable to the Fund for restitution. (f) Administration. The Fund shall be maintained and administered by the Board of Governors acting as trustees for the Fund. The Board shall appoint the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection Board (Client Protection Board) to administer the Fund pursuant to rules adopted by the Board of Governors and approved by the Supreme Court. The Client Protection Board shall consist of 11 lawyers and 2 nonlawyers, who will be appointed to serve staggered 3-year terms. (g) Subpoenas. A lawyer member of the Client Protection Board, or counsel for the Washington State Bar Association assigned to the Client Protection Board, shall have the power to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of the lawyer being investigated or of a witness, or the production of books, or documents, or other evidence, at the taking of a deposition. A subpoena issued pursuant to this rule shall indicate on its face that the subpoena is issued in connection with an investigation under this rule. Subpoenas shall be served in the same manner as in civil cases in the superior court. (h) Reports. The Board of Governors, in consultation with the Client Protection Board, shall file with the Supreme Court a full report on the activities and finances of the Fund at least annually and may make other reports to the court as necessary. (i) Communications to the Association: Communications to the Association, Board of Governors (Trustees), Client Protection Board, Association staff, or any other individual acting under the authority of these rules, are absolutely privileged, and no lawsuit predicated thereon may be instituted against any applicant or other person providing information. [Adopted effective September 1, 1994; amended effective October 1, 2002; January 2, 2008; January 13, 2009; December 1, 2009.]
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