Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lawyers Behaving Badly: Payouts From Wisconsin 'Attorney Ripoff Reimbursement Fund' Double; Incidents Of Dipping Into Client Trust Funds Increase

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

  • A state fund that pays victims of misconduct by dishonest lawyers doled out nearly $2 million in the past six years, nearly double the amount paid in the previous six, records analyzed by the Journal Sentinel show.

  • The Wisconsin Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection - a little-known body created 30 years ago by the state Supreme Court - issued payments after lawyers pocketed unearned fees and embezzled client funds, among other acts.(1)

  • Officials and attorneys say the trends suggest there are more misbehaving lawyers, especially when it comes to stealing money from client trust funds. "It seems like there are more of them and they are for bigger amounts," said attorney Richard Cayo, who specializes in representing lawyers facing disciplinary charges.


  • In the six-year period that ended June 30, the fund paid out nearly $1.9 million. In the previous six years, it paid out slightly more than $1 million. The money in the fund, administered by the State Bar, comes from mandatory annual payments of $25 by each of the state's nearly 20,000 attorneys.

  • The Journal Sentinel also found: Since its creation in 1981, the fund has paid about $5.1 million to nearly 700 clients. Nearly 60% of that total has been paid since 2000.

For more, see $2 million paid after lawyer misconduct.

(1) For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help cover the financial mess created by the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in other states and Canada, see:

Maps available courtesy of The National Client Protection Organization, Inc.

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