FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Anita Aboulafia, 212-267-6646, ext. 225 or email@example.com
NYCLA PROPOSES CHANGES TO DISCIPLINARY AND APPELLATE DEPARTMENT
RULES TO SAFEGUARD CLIENTS’ FUNDS
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 15, 2006 – The New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) has submitted to Hon. Judith S. Kaye, Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, a series of proposed changes to the Disciplinary Rules and Appellate Department Rules to safeguard clients’ funds in trust, escrow, special or IOLA accounts in cases where clients’ attorneys have been disbarred, suspended or ceased to practice law by reason of resignation, retirement or abandonment of his or her practice.
Since no such safeguards currently exist, clients’ funds are now left under the control of such attorneys without statute or rules providing for the disposition of funds. NYCLA’s Committee on Professional Discipline, co-chaired by Michael Gary Hilf and Lewis F. Tesser, researched the proposal. Committee member William Aronstein and Mr. Tesser co-chaired the subcommittee that spearheaded the effort.
The Committee proposal stated that “the existing situation leaves [a disbarred or suspended attorney] free to continue to control . . . client funds, notwithstanding that he or she already displayed conduct indicating a disregard for statutes and/or rules governing the ethical conduct of his or her practice. A disbarred or suspended attorney should not be permitted to remain in a position to exert [such] unfettered control.” Mr. Tesser stated that the proposals, which were co-authored by Timothy J. O’Sullivan, Executive Director, The Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, provide for the fair and orderly control and disposition of client funds that had been in the control of disbarred or suspended attorneys.
The New York County Lawyers’ Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.
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