Public Notices and Press Releases

NJ Lawyers’ Fund Reimburses Over $750,000 to Victims of Attorney Misconduct

In its latest quarterly report, the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection returns substantial sums to clients defrauded by their attorneys.

In a significant move to address attorney misconduct, the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection of New Jersey has reimbursed clients a total of $753,861.59 during the second quarter of 2024. The Fund resolved 15 claims against nine lawyers who were either disciplined or have passed away, marking a critical step in its ongoing efforts to uphold legal integrity.

Among the notable cases, Thomas Williams, a once-trusted attorney from Ramsey, betrayed his client by stealing nearly $300,000 intended for the client’s disabled daughter. Over 12 years, Williams diverted these funds from the estate he was charged with managing. The malpractice came to light thanks to the vigilance of an associate in Williams’ office, who alerted the Fund, leading to a full reimbursement of the embezzled amount to the affected family.

In another grievous instance, Martin Fishman of Franklin Lakes was involved in a fraudulent mortgage scheme that preyed on a Florida retiree, ultimately swindling him out of over $800,000. The Fund stepped in to award the maximum allowable relief of $400,000 to the victim, highlighting the severe impact of such crimes.

The Fund, which operates solely on annual contributions from New Jersey attorneys and involves no taxpayer dollars, has a rigorous process for claim approval. Under New Jersey’s Court Rule 1:28, only claims against attorneys acting in a legal or fiduciary capacity at the time of the offense are considered. It does not cover cases of legal malpractice, negligence, or fee disputes.

This quarter’s payments add to the long history of the Fund, which was established in 1961 and expanded in 1969. It has since addressed nearly 5,000 claims and distributed over $99 million to wronged clients, emphasizing its role in maintaining trust in the legal profession.

For those affected, claim forms and assistance are available online, by mail, or via telephone. The Fund encourages inquiries about its mission and the claim process, ensuring transparency and support for victims of attorney misconduct.

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified