Commonwealth Journal

Local News

November 29, 2013

Panel studying issue of lawyers who abandon their practices

Clients left at risk

(Continued)

The Indiana rule also allows for a four-month suspension of all deadlines in the cases picked up from abandoned practices.
Ohio’s rule presently allows a committee that disciplines lawyers or a committee of a local bar association to appoint an attorney to inventory the files at an abandoned practice.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has a rule that calls for the Supreme Court to appoint commissioners to liquidate an abandoned practices but Rouse said more is needed. The rule doesn’t provide the commissioners indemnity or compensation for their work. It also doesn’t explicitly order the commissioners to keep what they find in clients’ files confidential.
“We are going to do our best to come up with a system that works well and then let everyone know it is there,” Rouse said.
Rouse said he hopes the Kentucky task force will issue recommendations by spring. Those recommendations would have to first be approved by the Kentucky Bar Association’s rules committee, then the Kentucky Supreme Court rules committee and then the entire Supreme Court.
“Sometimes these rules take a couple of years to go in place,” Rouse said. “Sometimes they are done in a couple of months, depending on the urgency of the issue. I would hope that this would be the latter.”
 

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