The Kentucky Supreme Court (SCR 3.820) established a Clients' Security Fund (CSF) "to promote public confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession” by providing some measure of restitution to clients who have lost money because of the dishonest, fraudulent acts, or other unethical conduct of a member of the KBA. The Court has opined that every lawyer has an obligation to the public to participate in the collective effort of the bar to reimburse persons who have lost money or property as a result of the dishonest conduct of another lawyer. "To fund CSF, a portion of each Kentucky attorney’s dues, as determined by the Supreme Court, is allocated to the CSF each year." No tax dollars support the CSF.
How Does the Clients’ Security Fund Work?
- Eligible claims are described in SCR 3.820(10).
- Your loss must have occurred within the attorney client‐relationship and have resulted from dishonesty, fraud, or other unethical conduct. Dishonesty and fraud denote wrongful conduct in the nature of theft, embezzlement and conversion of money, property or other things of value.
- Losses from legal malpractice are NOT recoverable.
- Claims must be filed no later than two years after you knew or should have known of the dishonesty or fraud by the lawyer who is admitted and licensed to practice law in the courts of this State.
How to Submit
- Submit a claim form or contact the Office of Bar Counsel to request a form.
- Fill out the form completely. Be as detailed as possible.
- Provide documentation or proof to support your claim (i.e., receipts, letters, checks, bank records). If there is insufficient proof of a claim, it will be denied.
- The Trustees, appointed by the Board of Governors, will review your claim and determine whether any money is awarded. Three of the members are attorneys; two members are non‐attorneys. The Trustees typically meet twice a year to review claims.
- If a claim is received and opened, and there is also a pending disciplinary case about the same conduct, the Trustees will not review the claim until the disciplinary case is over. A claim could be opened as a disciplinary matter if the lawyer named is living, not disbarred, and there is no disciplinary case yet opened on the matter.
Payment of claim
- Payment of a claim, in whole or in part, is a "matter of grace," as no person shall have the legal right to reimbursement from the CSF as a claimant, third‐party beneficiary or otherwise. Claimants may be required to exhaust other remedies prior to reimbursement by the CSF.
- At present there are caps on recovery. There is a cap of $50,000 per claim, with a total cap per attorney of $150,000. If there are so many claims against an attorney that the cap is reached, awards may be reduced on a pro rata basis.
- Reimbursement is limited to actual pecuniary losses (the money the attorney wrongfully took). The Trustees will not entertain a claim of consequential damages arising from the wrongful act of an attorney.
- Clients' Security Fund proceedings and records are confidential until reimbursement is made. After payment of a claim the Trustees may publicize the nature of the claim, the amount of payment and the name of the lawyer. The identity of claimants is not disclosed absent specific permission. Law enforcement agencies, disciplinary authorities (separate from the CSF) and other entities may be granted access to relevant information gathered in the proceedings.
How Much Does it Cost?
No charge or fee is required of any claimant. You do not need a lawyer to file a claim. In addition, no lawyer shall accept any payment for prosecuting a claim on behalf of a claimant. The Trustees receive no salary and are only reimbursed their travel expenses.
Information concerning the Clients' Security Fund and claim forms may be obtained from the Office of Bar Counsel, which provides administrative support to the Trustees and investigates claims.
Contact our Litigation Paralegal/OBC Investigator
502.564.3795 ext. 259