Each year the ARDC files many cases against lawyer who convert funds from client trust accounts. This case is slightly different. The ARDC has charged one member of a two-member firm with failing to (a) maintain accurate and complete client trust account records and (b) failing to make “reasonable efforts” that the other lawyers in the firm were in compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct.
This is a case alleging inadvertent conversions of client funds due to a lack of record-keeping by the lawyers and the firm. There were several bounced checks and some clients apparently had to wait longer than they should have to receive their settlement checks.
Obviously, these are allegations in a complaint and they have not been proven. The significance of the case is that a partner has a duty to make sure his fellow partners are in compliance with the rules.
The key allegation is this one:
41. By reason of the conduct described above that occurred on or after January 1, 2010, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:
- failure to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that all lawyers in the firm conform to the Rules of Professional Conduct by conduct including failing to create and implement procedures to prepare and maintain complete records of a client trust account, in violation of Rule 5.1(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).”