Rules Governing the Utah State Bar

Petition to amend Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection rules AKA Client Security Fund rules.
USB 14-0901. Definitions. Amend. Technical change.
USB 14-0903. Committee membership and terms; Board approval of Committee recommendations. Amend. Technical change.
USB 14-0904. Funding. Amend. Modifies the Fund’s minimum balance provisions and assessment provisions. Provides for suspension of a lawyer’s license in some circumstances until the lawyer reimburses the Fund.
USB 14-0910. Eligible claim. Amend. Establishes new time limits in which to make a claim.
USB 14-0912. Processing claims. Amend. Technical change.
USB 14-0913. Payment of reimbursement. Amend. Establishes a lifetime cap per lawyer. Permits claims to be paid on a pro rata basis if it appears the claims will exceed a lawyer’s annual or lifetime cap.

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One thought on “Rules Governing the Utah State Bar
  1. Thomas Thompson

    I respectfully oppose the proposed changes to Rule 14-904 in the form presently under consideration. Under the old rule, it allows the Bar to assess its members for the Client Security Fund “only as necessary to maintain a minmum balance in the Fund of $200,000.” The proposed change states that “the Fund balance shall be set in an amount of not less than $200,000.” The clear result of the proposed change is to establish no upper limit at all on the Fund balance, which would be set entirely at the discretion of the Bar without any further notice or input from Members. If the concern about the old language is that $200,000 may not be enough to satisfy all the claims that may be submitted, then the Bar should certainly raise that cap in whatever amount seems appropriate. But in my view it is clearly improper to have no upper limit on the amount the Fund may reach. The consequence of that is to establish no upper limit on the amount the Bar may assess its membership for the funding, which may put an intolerable burden on many lawyers. This simply cannot be what was intended; and if it is what was intended, it is patently unreasonable.
    The proposed new Rule 14-904(e)(1) is also not well taken. It establishes the new rule that where a lawyer is publicly reprimanded and the Fund pays an eligible claim, the lawyer’s license to practice shall be suspended until the Fund has been fully reimbursed by the lawyer. The difficulty with such a rule is that it would prevent the lawyer from working in his professional capacity to earn the money to pay back the Fund, and such a rule thus imposes a draconian penalty on the lawyer who, as a practical matter, may never be able to practice law again and at the same time become impoverished due to his inability to practice his profession. This is unreasonable. Instead, the Bar should consider a rule requiring the lawyer to pay back the amount to the Fund according to his ability (with appropriate required financial disclosures to the Bar), and only if a lawyer who has the ability to repay the Fund fails to do so should the penalty of suspension be imposed.