APR 15P - Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection - Procedural RulesComments for APR 15P must be received no later than April 30, 2012.
Submitted by the Board of Governors of the Washington State Bar Association
Purpose: The WSBA Board of Governors approved three rule amendments suggested by the WSBA Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Board. The first amendment, to Fund Procedural Rule 5(F), addresses unjust enrichment. It says that “no rule should be interpreted to provide a financial windfall to a claimant from the Fund.” The purpose is to address the situation where a lawyer settles a client’s case and would be entitled to a 1/3 contingent fee, but the lawyer misappropriates the entire settlement. The client’s true loss is not the entire settlement but only that portion to which the client would have received if the funds had not been appropriated.
The second amendment adds a new section, Fund Procedural Rule 5(G), addressing factors that the Board has been using when considering gifts to claimants who made investments with their lawyer. It says that “the Board should consider such factors as the sophistication of the investor, the length of the relationship with the lawyer, and whether the investor was aware that the lawyer had non-lawyer partners.”
The third amendment is to Fund Procedural Rule 11(B). The purpose is to address the situation when a claimant who has been approved for payment cannot be found. We are currently carrying seven payments on the books that go back as far as 2002. We have made diligent efforts to locate these persons, without success. The amendment reads “Failure to return a signed subrogation agreement to the Fund within three years of approval of the application will result in revocation of that approval.”
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