Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The Illinois ARDC has filed charges against an associate attorney in a law firm alleging that he had violated an agreement with the firm to remit 50% of fees he had collected to the firm. The alleged misconduct involved 20 clients and over $15,000 in fees due to the firm. According to the charging document:
"5. Respondent received the above-listed legal fees on behalf of the law firm and as an agent and fiduciary of the law firm.
6. At least 50% of the above-listed legal fees, in a total amount of $15,010.00, belonged to the law firm.
7. At no time did Respondent deliver any part of the above-listed payments to the law firm.
8. At no time did Respondent notify the law firm that he had received the above-listed legal fees.
9. Shortly after his receipt of each of the above-listed checks for legal fees, Respondent deposited them into his personal checking account number 7770014575, held jointly with his wife, Jennifer, at First Federal Savings Bank, Champaign, Illinois.
10. Respondent used all of the above-listed funds for his own personal purposes."
There is a trend towards treating such misconduct as a species of theft, with appropriate sanctions given the nature of the misconduct. (Mike Frisch)