Disturbing news is coming out of Connecticut via a Connecticut Supreme Court Justice and the President-elect of the Connecticut Bar: In an unusual power play, the Connecticut Legislature swooped in and grabbed $2 million of the state's Client Security Fund (which is funded solely by lawyers and overseen by the Court) to help close the state budget deficit, and potentially leaving victims in the lurch.
Client security funds are organized, funded, and managed by state bars and courts across the country to aid victims who are harmed by lawyers who misappropriate client funds. While the vast majority of lawyers are scrupulously honest, there are a few in each state each year that violate their oaths and the trust of their clients. These security funds are funded by lawyers to make sure the victims of these lawyers are made whole. It is classic self-regulation at work. And it does work. Until now.
Now, not only are potential victims left wondering if their claims will be honored (totaling almost $3 million at the end of 2008), but Connecticut lawyers should feel outraged about this taking. It is their money, backed by their integrity that is at risk too.
Let's hope the lawyers in Connecticut will rally to the aid of the public (before the Connecticut Legislature adjourns) to reclaim what is rightfully theirs and the public they serve.