or a portion of the proceeds. Conrad’s law license was revoked and he is serving a federal prison sentence. The Conrad case was one of the biggest in the Client Protection Fund’s history. Conrad’s clients filed almost $3.7 million in claims. The Fund’s maximum aggregate payout was capped at $411,165, which was divided among 140 petitioners. But big-money fraudulent operations such Conrad’s are rare. Most claims on the Clients’ Protection Fund are within the fund’s capacity to cover.
“The Clients’ Protection Fund is a very effective public protection tool after clients have suffered losses in the rare instances of lawyer dishonesty,” said Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar. “Virginia lawyers should be commended for this tangible investment in the good name of their profession.” The fund had by far its biggest year in fiscal 2010, when it paid 218 claims that totaled $900,560 — many of them related to Conrad. Those claims in 2010 were against only seventeen attorneys — a miniscule portion of the twenty-nine thousand lawyers in active practice in Virginia. “The fund is a low-risk, high-yield investment in the legal profession,” Gould said. Doug Landau of the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., suggests that you make sure that the lawyer representing you in your personal injury and workers compensation case:
- Is a member of the bar in good standing;
- Has professional liability insurance; and
- Actually goes to court to try the kind of case you have.
If the lawyer fails in ANY ONE of these three minimum requirements, get another lawyer.