Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security

/ 12.Dec, 2012

Every year Pennsylvania lawyers are asked (required) to pay money into the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security.  For the most part, lawyers pay this money without ever getting a second thought to its purpose.  There are similar funds in most states.  As their names imply, these funds are designed to reimburse clients for dishonest conduct by attorneys.  Recently, the fund in New York reimbursed several clients of attorney Kenneth F. Bernas who was convicted last year of defrauding 53 clients by taking out presettlement loans in their names without their knowledge.  All told the New York’s Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection has paid out more than $1.2 million to Mr. Bernas’ clients.  From 2009-2010, the Pennsylvania fund disposed of 211 claims, resulting in 148 approved awards for a total of $2,101,135, which was approximately half a million dollars less than the previous year.  In 2011, the New York State fund made 253 awards for a total of $6.9 million to clients.  Most of the funds are financed not only by required yearly payments of lawyers, but also by actions taken by the funds to recoup monies from the lawyers whose clients make claims.

-Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire