468-b. Clients' security fund of the state of New York. 1. The court of appeals shall appoint a board of trustees to administer the lawyers' fund for client protection of the state of New York established pursuant to section ninety-seven-t of the state finance law. Such board shall consist of seven members. Of the trustees first appointed, three shall be appointed for a term of three years; two for a term of two years; and two for a term of one year. As each such term expires, each new appointment shall be for a term of three years. The court of appeals may require such reports or audits of the board as it shall from time to time deem to be necessary or desirable.
2. The board shall have the power to receive, hold, manage and distribute the funds collected hereunder for the purpose of maintaining the integrity and protecting the good name of the legal profession by reimbursing, in the discretion of the trustees to the extent they may deem proper and reasonable, losses caused by the dishonest conduct of attorneys admitted to practice in this state. For purposes of this section, the term "dishonest conduct" shall mean misappropriation or wilful misapplication of clients' money, securities, or other property, by an attorney admitted to practice in this state.
3. The board of trustees shall adopt regulations for the administration of the lawyers' fund for client protection of the state of New York and the procedures for presentation, consideration, allowance and payment of claims, including the establishment of a maximum limitation for awards to claimants.
4. The board of trustees shall have the sole discretion to determine the merits of claims presented for reimbursement, the amount of such reimbursement and the terms under which such reimbursement shall be made. Such terms of reimbursement shall require that the claimant execute such instruments, take such action or enter into such agreements as the board of trustees shall require, including assignments, subrogation agreements and promises to cooperate with the board of trustees in making claims against the attorney whose dishonest conduct resulted in the claim.
5. The board of trustees shall serve without compensation but shall be entitled to receive their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties.
6. The board of trustees may employ and at pleasure remove such personnel as it may deem necessary for the performance of its functions and fix their compensation within the amounts made available therefor.
7. The board of trustees shall be considered employees of the state for the purpose of section seventeen of the public officers law.
8. All payments from the lawyers' fund for client protection of the state of New York shall be made by the state comptroller upon certification and authorization of the board of trustees of said fund.
9. Acceptance of an award of reimbursement from the lawyers' fund for client protection shall, to the extent of such award, (a) subrogate the fund to any right or cause of action that accrued to the claimant as a consequence of the dishonest conduct that resulted in the claimant's award and (b) create a lien in favor of the fund that shall attach to any money asset that is designated to be paid to the claimant from, or on behalf of, the attorney who caused the claimant's loss. If the fund fully reimburses the claimant's loss, as determined by the board of trustees, the lien shall be in the amount of the fund's award. If the claimant's loss exceeds the fund's award, the lien shall not extend to the claimant's right to recover additional restitution from the attorney for the claimant's unreimbursed loss. In the event of a recovery by the fund, a claimant shall be entitled to any money recovered in excess of the fund's award of reimbursement to the claimant.
Last modified: February 3, 2019