APR 15P - Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection - Procedural RulesComments for APR 15P must be received no later than April 30, 2008.
GR 9 COVER SHEET
Submitted by the Board of Governors of the Washington State Bar Association
Rule 5. ELIGIBLE CLAIMS
Purpose: A frequent fact pattern that the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Committee sees in applications is the situation where a lawyer told a client that fees were being withheld from settlement funds to pay a medical provider or other third-party, but the lawyer doesn't pay and converts the money instead. Often, these applications come from the third party. The problem arises that, if the client has not applied to the Fund, there is no way of knowing whether the money was paid to the client, whether the client was disputing the claim, or whether in light of the amount of the settlement, the lawyer told the client that he would negotiate a reduced payment.
In some instances, the Committee has felt satisfied that the funds were due to the third party, and has approved the application. In others, they have attempted to contact the client to either have the client file an application, or to confirm the facts as set out in the third-party’s application. And in some instances, the Committee has denied the application and told the third-party applicant that the Committee would only consider the matter if the client filed an application.
This suggested amendment to the Fund Procedural Rules would provide that the Fund will not pay such third parties without either (a) an application from the client or beneficiary or (b) authorization from the client or beneficiary to make such a payment.
Rule 6. PROCEDURES
Purpose: On occasion, Applicants to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection notify the Fund that they are withdrawing their application, or the Applicant has received restitution of the full amount stated in the Fund application. Currently, those are reported to the Fund Committee and the Committee “denies” the application because of the withdrawal or restitution.
This suggested amendment to the Fund Procedural Rules would provide that those files may be administratively closed once the application is withdrawn or restitution is made.
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