Each application is screened to see if the loss is eligible for reimbursement. Ineligible
claims are dismissed promptly with an explanation why the loss cannot be reimbursed.
Eligible claims are investigated and reports prepared for the Trustees. The Trustees
meet four time each year to evaluate claims, and determine the amounts of reimbursement
that will be allowed.
Losses are not generally reimbursed by the Trustees until a lawyer is disbarred by
the New York court system. It's important that clients cooperate fully in all official
investigations involving dishonesty in the practice of law.
Yes. The misuse of client money or property is professional misconduct that generally
results in disbarment from the practice of law. It is also a crime. A law client
who accuses a lawyer of misusing money and property must report the loss to an Attorney
Disciplinary (Grievance) Committee; and to the District Attorney in which the lawyer
maintained law offices.
A client must complete and return an application for reimbursement. Application
forms and other information is available from the fund's offices at 119 Washington
Avenue, Albany, N.Y. 12210. Telephone 518/434-1935, 800/442-FUND.
There is no application fee, and clients are not required to be represented by counsel.
Lawyers in New York State who help clients process applications with the fund do
not charge a fee for those services.
How do I file a claim?
Are other complaints required?
The Trustees may reimburse losses caused by the dishonest conduct of lawyers admitted
to the practice of law in New York State, up to a maximum of $400,000 for each client
Dishonest conduct means the wrongful taking of clients' money or other property,
in the practice of law, after June 1, 1981. Clients must apply for reimbursement
within two years after they discover their loss.
Typical losses covered include the theft of money from estates of dead clients; escrow
funds in real property closing; settlements in personal injury actions; and money
embezzled from clients in investment transactions.
A Board of Trustees appointed by the Court of Appeals, New York State's high court.
There are seven Trustees who serve as a public service without compensation. Five
Trustees are lawyers; two are business and community leaders.
No tax dollars are used. The fund is financed by the 278,000 members of the legal
profession in New York State through a registration fee required by law. Since 1982,
upwards of $132 million in awards of reimbursement have been paid to deserving law
The Lawyers' Fund was established in 1982 to provide reimbursement to law clients
who have lost money or property as a result of a lawyer's dishonest conduct in the
practice of law. The Lawyers' Fund is a remedy for law clients who cannot get reimbursement
from the lawyer who caused the loss, or from insurance or other sources.
What is the New York Lawyers’ Fund For Client Protection?
Who Finances the Lawyers’ Fund?
Who Administers the Lawyers Fund?
What losses are covered by the Lawyers Fund?
Yes. Clients must apply for reimbursement within two years after they discover their