Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Cost Of Regulation

From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:

In Fiscal Year 2009, more than $7 million was dedicated to the attorney discipline process, to reimburse clients of dishonest attorneys, to assist organizations who provide legal services for the poor and to aid lawyers that are suffering from alcoholism, substance abuse or mental illness, according to a report released today.

The annual report of the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Attorney Services Fund includes a review of the fund’s balance, audit information and investment policy and projected allocations for FY 2010.

The Supreme Court regulates all aspects of the practice of law in Ohio, including attorney discipline. In order to maintain an independent and self-funded regulatory system, the Supreme Court assesses and collects various fees and penalties, which support the fund.

In FY 2009, the fund expended $7,088,220. Of those expenditures, 68.73 percent or $4.9 million was dedicated for disciplinary-related expenses. Of this amount, $2.4 million accounted for the operations of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. A total of $780,514 funded the operations of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline and $1.6 million reimbursed local bar association certified grievance committees for disciplinary-related activities.

Additional expenditures from the fund supported:

  • The administration of the Attorney Services Division, which oversees the delivery of services to Ohio attorneys and assists the Supreme Court in the exercise of its constitutional duty to regulate the practice of law.
  • The Supreme Court Reporter of Decisions to publish attorney discipline legal notices in newspapers.
  • The Clients’ Security Fund to compensate clients of unscrupulous attorneys. (The CSF annual report will be available later this month on the Court's main reports and publications Web page.)

The fund also supports grants to two nonprofit organizations that assist the Supreme Court in providing oversight of the Ohio bench and bar and in the administration of justice: the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation and the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program.

View the complete report.

(Mike Frisch)


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