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Client Security Fund pays over $300,000 in 2022 to help Missourians

Clients harmed by a lawyer who was disbarred, suspended, adjudicated mentally incapacitated, or has died can submit claims to be reimbursed for certain legal expenses.

Missourians received over $300,000 from The Missouri Bar’s Client Security Fund, helping compensate clients harmed by the less than 1% of Missouri lawyers disbarred or suspended annually for not adhering to the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct or who died or adjudicated mentally incapacitated before concluding their clients’ cases.

Of the 103 claims received in 2022, the Client Security Fund funded 76 claims – a total of $304,241 in reimbursements of legal costs – helping even better improve the legal profession and administration of justice.

The six-member Client Security Fund Committee reviews reimbursement claims clients submit following alleged wrongful conduct committed by a Missouri lawyer. The committee then may recommend reimbursement of a claim in full or in part, or it may recommend denial of a claim.

When a lawyer is disbarred, suspended, adjudicated mentally incapacitated, or dies, their clients often “suffer emotionally and financially,” said Erica Mynarich, member of the Client Security Fund Committee.

“The Client Security Fund cannot ease the stress and hassle caused by the disruption of those lawyer/client relationships,” adds Mynarich, who also serves on The Missouri Bar Board of Governors. “But it’s rewarding to be a part of a committee that listens to these clients’ complaints so they feel heard and that sometimes can provide funds to repair some of the financial damage caused by the breakdown of their relationships with their former lawyers.”

Payments are limited to 80% of the amount of loss over $5,000, and there is a maximum payment of $50,000 per claim. All payments the committee recommends are reviewed by The Missouri Bar Board of Governors for final approval.

The regulations and rules governing the fund only permit payments for certain types of wrongful conduct. Compensation is not available for fee disputes or cases of malpractice. As a prerequisite for payment, the lawyer must be disbarred, suspended, deceased, or adjudicated mentally incapacitated.

Established in 1966, the Client Security Fund is maintained by appropriations from the annual enrollment fees paid by each member of The Missouri Bar, as well as interest and restitution payments from lawyers seeking reinstatement.

Click here to learn more about the Client Security Fund, as well as review and complete a claim.