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New York Financial Misconduct Defense Lawyer

Legal Professional Financial Misbehavior – Disciplinary Hearing Lawyer

Attorneys carry many professional responsibilities when it comes to finances. Consequently, their work can expose them to accusations of financial misconduct from several angles 一and to disciplinary actions from several professional licensing or regulatory authorities.

If you’re facing claims of financial misbehavior, work with an experienced New York law firm that can fight for your professional reputation and license. The team at the Brill Legal Group can help. 

Attorneys’ Financial Duties

Attorneys licensed to practice law in New York must adhere to the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, which are promulgated by the Appellate Divisions of the New York State Supreme Court. The Preamble to the Rules states that the nature of legal practice as a self-governing profession calls attorneys to meet a high standard of behavior toward clients. 

The fact that lawyers often fulfill several roles for a given client, from legal advocate to financial fiduciary, increases the need for thoughtful self-governance. It also complicates this practice by creating areas of potential conflict.

To address these issues, the New York Rules of Professional Conduct provide guidance on several financial matters and roles related to a lawyer’s professional conduct. 

Fees and Division of Fees

Rule 1.5 prohibits New York lawyers from making “an agreement for, charg[ing], or collect[ing] an excessive or illegal fee or expense.” Whether a fee is “excessive” is determined by a review of the facts in a particular case. Therefore, lawyers accused of violating this rule may be required to justify a fee or expense before the bar association in an examination of their financial conduct.

The Rules also state that fee disputes should be decided by arbitration. Counsel with experience navigating the arbitration process can help you build the best possible case.

Fiduciary Responsibilities

Rule 1.15 is one of the longest rules included in New York’s Rules of Professional Conduct. It covers a wide range of behaviors related to financial management for lawyers, including:

  • Permissible and impermissible management of funds,
  • Fiduciary responsibility to clients and other parties,
  • Rules against commingling or misappropriating client funds or assets, and
  • Maintaining bank accounts and financial records.

The rule also sets guidelines for examining an attorney’s or law firm’s financial records. 

Because Rule 1.15 addresses the examination of financial records, nearly any accusation of financial misconduct against a lawyer or firm is likely to implicate Rule 1.15 in some manner. An experienced attorney can help ensure the Rule’s demands are followed, freeing you to focus on providing quality representation to your own clients. 

Advertising and Payments for Referrals

Many of the requirements of Rule 7.1 on advertising focus on the content of advertising rather than on its financial aspects. However, a lawyer may be accused of financial misconduct related to advertising if the content of ads doesn’t align with the rules or with a client’s actual experience. 

Similarly, Rule 7.2 governs payments for referrals from outside sources, including other lawyers. Allegations of misconduct under this Rule can disrupt a lawyer’s or law firm’s ability to focus on serving its clients by posing an unnecessary distraction. 

In addition, some matters that are initially framed as financial questions may in fact, implicate other rules of professional conduct. For instance, a client who is persistently unhappy with a law firm’s communication regarding settlement funds may claim that the problem is related to the attorney’s handling of the funds. Only upon investigation does it become clear that the underlying problem is not financial in nature. The aid of an objective and experienced attorney can clarify issues more clearly and help you navigate allegations of financial misconduct. 

Cases We Handle

Attorneys may find themselves the subject of investigations by the New York State Grievance Committees and other professional boards or regulatory agencies. Examples of cases we’ve handled include:

  • Attorneys targeted in criminal investigations by the Department of Justice,
  • Lawyers accused of legal malpractice before the Disciplinary or Grievance Committees of the First, Second or Third Judicial Departments,
  • Attorneys appearing before the Bar Association Grievance Committees, 
  • Lawyers called before the Character and Fitness Committees,
  • Attorneys whose work includes finance or securities aspects, and
  • Accountants and other business professionals who face accusations spanning both the financial and legal world. 

If you’re facing accusations of financial misconduct within your legal practice, don’t wait. Contact the Brill Legal Group today. We serve our clients with shrewd negotiation and strong representation in every professional licensing disciplinary action. To learn more, contact us at 888-315-9841 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation. 

Just when I was getting discouraged and was at my wits end trying to find the right attorney for my case, a family member recommended Mr. Brill. He did not disappoint. Mr. Brill and his team are diligent, very professional, encouraging and honest every step of the way. Highly recommended.

- A.S.