California Administratively Suspends Lawyers for Trust Account Issues
November 1, 2023
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In July 2023, the California State Bar administratively suspended more than 1,600 attorneys for violating the new Client Trust Account Protection Program. Suspended attorneys were listed as “inactive” with the Bar and not legally allowed to practice law. The new rules were enacted in part as a response to the allegations that disgraced attorney Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese stole more than $18 million from his clients.
The California Trust Account Protection Program provides that California lawyers must comply with new requirements, including:
- Registering their client trust accounts annually with the California State Bar;
- Completing an annual self-assessment of client trust account management practices; and
- Certifying with the California State Bar that they understand and comply with Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct concerning safekeeping of client funds and property.
According to the California State Bar website, the Bar will not impose penalties for failure to comply with the new program requirements until April 3, 2024. However, in future years, the reporting deadline will be February 1. California attorneys can fufill their reporting requirements via the My State Bar Profile. The State Bar requests that attorneys email [email protected] or call 888-505-5208 with any questions.
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