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STATE BAR ASSOCIATION TO REIMBURSE CLIENT LOSSES

(Oklahoma City – Dec. 12,2016) The Oklahoma Bar Association’s Clients’Security Fund will pay more than $176,000 to 27 Oklahomans who lost money or other property from the dishonest conduct of their attorney. The association is reimbursing money to the clients of 10 deceased or former lawyers whose actions led to the losses.

OBA President Garvin Isaacs of Oklahoma City said, “Oklahoma attorneys work hard to maintain good relationships with their clients, and the client-attorney relationship is built on trust. Unfortunately, the reputation of every lawyer suffers when a very small number of attorneys engage in unethical or illegal behavior.The Clients’ Security Fund enables us to restore faith in our profession’s integrity, by returning lost money to those who have been harmed by the actions of a few.

Claims result when an attorney is disbarred, misappropriates client funds or diesbefore work is performed. The OBA’s Clients’ Security Fund Committee reviews client claims and annually makes recommendations to the OBA Board of Governors on the merits of the claims. Committee Chair Micheal Salem of Norman said typically these claims are paid for former attorneys who have become unstable as a result of a personal crisis, substance abuse or illness.

Salem said, “The fund is a remedy of last resort for clients who cannot recover money from other sources, such as insurance, a bonding company, from the attorney involved or the attorney's estate.”

Claims to be paid this year total $176,016.54. Isaacs said all active Oklahoma lawyers contribute to the fund through a portion of their annual bar dues, and more than $2.7 million in reimbursements has been paid to clients since the fund was created in 1965.

Former or deceased attorneys for whom the OBA will be paying claims, the individuals to be compensated for their losses and the reimbursement amounts are:

Former attorney Ken Kerr, Oklahoma City; client Ruth Clark, Grove, $3,685.

Former attorney Dane Wilson, Norman; clients Glenda Williams, Cleveland, $49,797.31 and Ruby Frame, Noble, $82,995.18.

Former attorney William Raynolds, Tulsa; client Eric Wigginton, Tulsa, $1,693.11.

Former attorney Jay Trenary, Blackwell; clients Bill Foster, Guthrie, $2,489.87; and Francis Foster, Guthrie, $2,489.87.

Former attorney Derek B. Smith, Oklahoma City; clients Lowell C. Lenhart, Edmond,$995.95; and Karina Zamora, Portland, Texas, $995.95.

Former attorney Mitchell K. Leonard, Idabel; clients Mark A. Durbin, Mesquite, Texas,$1,991.89; Joshua Reed, Haworth, $2,489.87; Audrey Kessler, Rio Ranchero, New Mexico, $1,991.89; and James E. Cooke, Smithville, $3,983.78.

Former attorney Fred Bennett Callicoat, Tulsa; clients Charles and Kaytlin Estrada,Sperry, $1,394.32; Mary A. Johnson, Broken Arrow, $995.95; Diane Lynn King,Tulsa, $1,593.51; Victoria Divita, Owasso, $1,493.92; Paul Cooper, Bixby, $1,792.70; Rochelle Johnson, Tulsa, $1,493.92; Jeffrey Spence Hurley, Bixby,$896.35; James D. Keegan, Tulsa, $796.76; Brenda A. Lewis, Tulsa, $1,493.92;and John J. Brown, Sapulpa, $1,195.14.

Deceased attorney Ron Cox, Hugo;client Harold Lloyd Haas, Boswell, $4,680.95.

Deceased attorney Brad Hollar,Oklahoma City; client George Walter Holbrook, Duncan, $995.95.

Suspended attorney Glenn Mirando, Tulsa; clients Ana G. Yorchenko, Broken Arrow,$2,987.84; and Glen Joseph Blake, Tulsa, $2,091.49.