July 5, 2011
New Illinois Rule On Entrusted Funds
Illinois has adopted a significantly revised Rule 1.15 that will go into operation on September 1, 2011. The web page of the Attorney Registration & Grievance Commission has this link to questions about the effect of the new rule with the following summary of changes:
There are three key changes and are contained in paragraphs (a), (f) and (h) of Rule 1.15:
1. Only Two Types of Client Trust Accounts – Paragraphs (a), (f) and (g) clarifies that there are only two options for depositing client funds and that all trust funds must be held:
- at interest
- in an eligible financial institution
- in either:
an IOLTA Client Trust Account (a pooled interest- or dividend-bearing client trust account that holds nominal or short-term funds of several clients and third persons with the Lawyers Trust Fund designated as the income beneficiary)
a Non-IOTLA Client Trust Account (a separate, interest- or dividend-bearing client trust account established for the benefit of a particular client or client matter where the net income earned on the funds is paid to the client or third person.)
Rule 1.15 expressly prohibits non-interest or non-dividend-bearing trust accounts. See Rule 1.15(a) and (f).
2. Recordkeeping Requirement – Subparagraphs (1) through (8) to Rule 1.15(a) adds specific recordkeeping requirements for records relating to client trust funds.
3. Automatic Overdraft Notification – Paragraph (h) adds an automatic overdraft notification provision whereby eligible financial institutions have agreed to report to the ARDC anytime a properly payable instrument is presented against a client trust account containing insufficient funds, irrespective of whether or not the instrument is honored.
If you handle other people's money (including advanced fees), compliance with Rule 1,15 is an absolute necessity. Negligence is no defense to a charge of non-compliance. (mike Frisch)
Sex Assaults Result in Medical License Permanent Revocation
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals approved the permanent revocation of a doctor's license as ordered by the State Board of Physicians.
The court found that the board had found on competent evidence that the doctor had sexually assaulted four patients over a two year period. The first victim brought criminal charges that resulted in an acquital. Three patients filed complaints with the medical board and a fourth was brought while the allegations were pending.
The court held that board was not obligated to refer the doctor to a counseling program. Further, the board has the authority to impose the sanction, provided the required process and did not impose permanent revocation arbitrarily or capriciously. (Mike Frisch)
July 3, 2011
A Lawyer Can Be The Mayor
The Arizona Supreme Court has held that a member of the State Bar is not, as a result barred from seeking the Democratic nomination to serve a Mayor of Tucson.
The court rejected as "spurious" the contention that a bar member is a part of the judiciary by virtue of admission. (Mike Frisch)
Suspensions For Domestic Violence
The July 2010 edition of the California Bar Journal reports attorney suspensions in two matters involving domestic violence.
In one case
[An attorney] was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual nine-month suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Nov. 12, 2010.
[The attorney] stipulated to four counts of misconduct in two client matters. He pleaded guilty in 2008 to domestic violence and damaging a phone line after he hit his wife during an argument and yanked the phone from her as she dialed 911. He threw the phone on the floor and damaged it.
A restraining order was issued against [him] and he was warned that possessing a firearm within 10 years of his conviction would be a crime. His wife subsequently called police twice to complain he] violated the restraining order, although she later asked that the order be vacated in order to begin family counseling.
A year after the first incident, [he] threatened to kill his wife, brandished a knife and said he still possessed guns. The police found two loaded guns on top of a kitchen cabinet. [He] pleaded guilty to exhibiting a weapon other than a gun, and to possessing a gun within 10 years of his earlier conviction.
In each matter, [he] stipulated that he violated the law and that his convictions did not involve moral turpitude but did warrant discipline. In mitigation, he had no prior discipline record.
[An attorney] was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a six-month actual suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within a year. The order took effect Nov. 12, 2010.
[He] pleaded no contest to felony battery with serious injury after he hit his wife on two occasions and did not take her to the hospital for several days. According to a stipulation he reached with the bar, [his] wife suffered contusions to both eyes, a broken nose and lacerations and bruises to her arm. Although [he] initially was charged with five counts, four were dropped.
The bar placed him on interim suspension in 2009. He stipulated that his conviction amounted to a failure to uphold the law.