Schemes Targeting Lawyers Are Continuing: LSBA Says Remain Aware and Vigilant
The Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) believes it is extremely important to remind Bar members about criminals targeting lawyers. Despite the Bar’s efforts to warn its members, it is apparent that various schemes involving counterfeit checks or phishing emails to gain account information continue to occur. Luckily, most efforts are unsuccessful but some members have been harmed. The LSBA has recently received information from several targeted lawyers.
Although the fraudulent efforts may take different forms, many involve “fake” clients and counterfeit checks.
One version has a lawyer receiving an overpayment on an initial advance deposit for fees. The “fake” client asks for a refund of the overpayment.
In another instance, the lawyer receives a check from a “third party” after minimal collection efforts on behalf of the “fake” client. The “fake” client typically wants the funds immediately and asks for money to be wired. The funds are disbursed before the check is found to be counterfeit.
Sometimes the “fake client” is foreign and seeking to collect child support or another judgment from a U.S. citizen.
In other instances, the legal work could seem more local such as a collection effort for architectural or remodeling work done on property in your area. While the names or property may exist, people’s information may have been lifted and used without their permission by the scammers.
Do not accept facts as face value without more research and due diligence as to the people and matters involved.
The risk for the lawyer is that if a suspect check is deposited into trust, the local bank may provide the lawyer “provisional credit.” If a lawyer disburses funds to the “client,” the lawyer, most likely, would have been later advised that the original check was invalid or determined to be counterfeit, and the lawyer would have had a large sum of money stolen.
Be very careful. If suspicious, ask the bank how long it needs to determine whether a check is counterfeit. Check with your insurer to see if these fraudulent or criminal transactions are covered by your insurance.
Beware of clients you have never personally met or clients who need immediate transfer of funds. Don’t be tempted by receipt of an overpayment of an advance deposit or a fee that appears “too good to be true.”
The LSBA, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and law enforcement agencies encourage LSBA members to exercise caution and perform due diligence before accepting new cases and performing financial transactions involving the lawyer’s trust account.
Thanks, Secret Santas! All 692 Children Have Been “Adopted” This Year
The LSBA/Louisiana Bar Foundation’s Community Action Committee would like to thank all legal professionals who participated in this year’s Secret Santa Project. Thanks to the generosity of “adopting” Santas and to those who made monetary donations, 692 children (ages 12 and under) will receive a much brighter and happier holiday. Many thanks and happy holidays!
Thanks to Participants Volunteering for October’s Month of Service
The LSBA would like to thank the participants who volunteered their time and talents during October’s Month of Legal Service. A variety of events took place across the state this year, many focusing on the needs of self-represented litigants in local courts. Several courts hosted free walk-in legal clinics for those in need of legal advice. The Month of Service culminated with Celebrate Pro Bono Week, a national ABA program supporting pro bono work across the country. For the list of volunteers and event photos, go to: http://www.lsba.org/ATJ/LAMonthofService.aspx
Registration is Open for LSBA Animal Law Section’s Dec. 13 CLE
The LSBA’s Animal Law Section has scheduled its fifth annual Animal Law CLE, “Sea to Land,” for Friday, Dec. 13, at the St. Christopher Hotel, 114 Magazine St., New Orleans. The CLE is approved for 7 hours of credit, including ethics and professionalism. Lunch will be included. For more information and to register online, go to: http://www.animallawla.org
Exhibitors and Sponsors Sought for 2014 Solo and Small Firm Conference
The LSBA is seeking exhibitors and sponsors for the seventh annual Solo and Small Firm Conference, set for Thursday and Friday, March 6-7, 2014, at the New Orleans Marriott. For more information on sponsorship levels, contact LSBA Program Coordinator/Marketing and Sections Christine A. Richard at (504)619-0105, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Early-Bird Registration Deadline is Feb. 10, 2014, for ABA TECHSHOW®
The LSBA is once again an Event Promoter for the ABA TECHSHOW® 2014 Conference and Expo, set for March 27-29, 2014, in Chicago, Ill. Because of the LSBA’s participation as an event promoter, LSBA members receive a registration discount. When registering, LSBA members should use the event promoter code EP1402. For more information and to register for the conference, presented by the ABA Law Practice Management Section, go to: http://www.techshow.com
Sponsors Sought for LSBA Seventh Annual Conclave on Diversity in the Legal Profession
The LSBA is seeking sponsors for the state-wide Conclave on Diversity in the Legal Profession, scheduled for March 21, 2014, in New Orleans. Sponsors committed by December 15 will appear in the Conclave mailer. For more information on sponsorship levels, contact LSBA Program Coordinator/Marketing and Sections Christine A. Richard at (504)619-0105, e-mail email@example.com or go to: http://files.lsba.org/documents/News/Div/Conclave2014SponsorForm.pdf
Welcome Receptions for New Admittees Planned Statewide
The LSBA, in conjunction with several local bar associations, has scheduled a series of welcoming receptions for new 2013 Bar admittees over the next several months. New and existing members who attend the welcoming events will have the opportunity to have their photos taken free-of-charge for the LSBA photo id Bar Card.
- A reception will occur in New Orleans on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at the Louisiana Bar Center (601 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans) from 5:00-6:30 p.m.
- A reception will occur in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, at the 19th Judicial District Courthouse, Ceremonial Courtroom Lobby Area (300 North Blvd., 11th floor, Baton Rouge) from 9:30-11:00 a.m.
- A reception will occur in Lake Charles on Thursday, January 30, 2014, at the 14th Judicial District Courthouse (1001 Lakeshore Dr., Lake Charles) from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
New members were previously welcomed in Shreveport, Alexandria and Monroe. Details regarding welcoming events in Lafayette are being developed.
RSVP to any of these events by contacting Sonjanita Jordan at (504)619-0115 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Calling for House Resolutions: Midyear Meeting Jan. 23-25, 2014, in Baton Rouge
The LSBA’s Midyear Meeting is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 23-25, 2014, at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel, 7000 Bluebonnet Blvd. The deadline for submitting resolutions for the House of Delegates meeting is Friday, Dec. 13. (The House will meet on Jan. 25, 2014.) Resolutions by House members and committee and section chairs should be mailed to LSBA Secretary Barry H. Grodsky, c/o Louisiana Bar Center, 601 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130-3404. All resolutions proposed to be considered at the meeting must be received on or before Dec. 13. Resolutions must be signed by the author. Also, copies of all resolutions should be emailed (in MS Word format) to LSBA Executive Assistant Mindi Hunter at email@example.com
Reminder: Lawyer Advertising Filing Requirement
Per Rule 7.7 of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct, all lawyer advertisements and all unsolicited written communications sent in compliance with Rule 7.4 or 7.6(c) — unless specifically exempt under Rule 7.8 — are required to be filed with the LSBA Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, through LSBA Ethics Counsel, prior to or concurrent with first use/dissemination. Written evaluation for compliance with the Rules will be provided within 30 days of receipt of a complete filing. Failure to file/late filing will expose the advertising lawyer(s) to risk of challenge, complaint and/or disciplinary consequences.
View the necessary Filing Application Form, information about the filing and evaluation process, the required filing fee(s) and the pertinent Rules.
Inquiries, questions and requests for assistance may be directed to LSBA Ethics Counsel Richard P. Lemmler, Jr., RLemmler@LSBA.org
, (800)421-5722, ext. 144, or direct dial (504)619-0144.
Lawyers’ Assistance Program Offers Services to LSBA Members and Their Families
The Lawyers’ Assistance Program, Inc. provides confidential assistance to LSBA members and their families with problems such as alcoholism, substance abuse, mental health issues, gambling and all other addictions. To review all services and to read the latest LAP newsletter, go to: http://www.lsba.org/lap