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Thursday, December 1, 2022
Va. Bar fund helps those who received poor lawyer service

Va. Bar fund helps those who received poor lawyer service

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Virginia residents who were represented poorly – or not at all – by attorneys who still collected fees for services continue to benefit from the Virginia State Bar Clients’ Protection Fund, which for more than 45 years has provided reimbursement in cases where efforts by lawyers fell short of professional standards.

In the latest round of funding, a total of $27,230 was authorized to six petitioners.

The program was created by the Virginia Supreme Court at the behest of the General Assembly in the mid-1970s. The pool of funding comes from a $5 annual fee paid into the fund by all attorneys across the commonwealth.

Among the latest round of funding, approved in September:

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• A petitioner received $3,250 in reimbursement, having been a client of a Richmond attorney who had not received all support deemed appropriate in an immigration matter for which the individual had paid $6,500. The attorney surrendered his law licence in 2020.

• A former client of a Blacksburg attorney was authorized to receive $1,200 by the board, which found that the lawyer repeatedly failed to appear in court to represent his client in a traffic matter. The attorney’s license was revoked in 2021.

• The board approved payments of $8,830 and $7,500, respectively, to a former client and personal representative of the estate of a deceased former client of a Fairfax County attorney. The board found that the attorney charged estate-planning fees but did not do work to earn them. The attorney’s law license was revoked in 2021.

• A petitioner was awarded $1,750, representing the full cost charged by a Hampton attorney who, it was found, failed to file a petition for expungement on behalf of his client. The attorney’s license was revoked in 2020, several months before the attorney’s death.

• An award of $4,700 was made as full reimbursement to a client of a Vienna attorney, who it was found did no significant work for the client to pursue a habeas-corpus petition for the client before the attorney’s death in 2022.

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