Malpractice Compensation for Victims of Attorney
Washington operates a fund in which all of the state’s 30,000 lawyers pay $15 each year. This fund is used for clients who suffer from a lawyer's dishonesty, which is normally not covered under an attorney’s malpractice insurance. In December 2008, that fund’s balance dropped $700,000 after the Washington Bar Association announced it would pay 26 former clients of attorney Barry Hammer.
Hammer was convicted to three years in prison for swindling clients out of nearly $1 million with a real estate investment scheme. Awards to the victims range from $3,800 to $40,000. Because of the large outlay, the Washington Bar Association will likely raise the mandatory fee from $15 to $30 a year. A move that will need to be approved by the state’s Supreme Court.
Source: “$700,000 for clients bilked by Everett attorney”, Diana Hefley, The Herald, December 17, 2008