State Bar Association to Reimburse Client Losses
(Oklahoma City – Dec. 14, 2017) The Oklahoma Bar Association’s Clients’ Security Fund will pay more than $57,000 to 20 people who lost money or other property from the dishonest conduct of their attorney. The association is reimbursing money to the clients of seven suspended or former lawyers whose actions led to the losses.
“The fund is the last resort for clients who cannot recover money from other sources, such as insurance or from the attorney involved,” said OBA President Linda Thomas of Bartlesville. “The fund enables the public to maintain confidence in our profession, because all lawyers pay on behalf of the very small number of bad apples who have done wrong and have been disbarred.”
Claims result when an attorney misappropriates client funds or property, is disbarred or dies, and there is no other source for compensation or recovery. 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.
“The committee is always happy to assist those who’ve been victimized by the dishonest actions of lawyers who have misappropriated client funds or property,” Salem said. “The public depends on us, and we take the issue of lawyer trust very seriously. When a lawyer betrays that trust by taking client funds, it is important that we rebuild confidence in our profession by fairly compensating the victims.”
Claims to be paid this year total $57,240.62. Thomas 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 F. Bennett Callicoat, Tulsa; clients Andrea Haddox, Tulsa, $1,500; Jack W. Fischer Jr., Sand Springs, $1,800; Alicia Perkins, Glenpool, $1,310; Robert W. Boyd, Tulsa, $2,500; Byrder Mae Thornton, Tulsa, $1,300; Tamara Denise Barnes, Broken Arrow, $2,300; Amie Marie Williams, Tulsa, $1,500; and Saundra L. McClelland, Tulsa, $1,800
Former attorney Caroline Drummond, Oklahoma City; client Brad Stone, Midland, Texas, $5,000
Former attorney Mitchell K. Leonard, Idabel; clients Kay Whittington, Haworth, $1,500; Cinnamon Anderson, Bixby, $1,198; Florence Lynn Phillips, Diana, Texas, $1,500; and Sharon G. Cockrell, Broken Bow, $2,300
Suspended attorney Glenn Mirando, Tulsa; clients Anthone Patterson, Broken Arrow, $1,000; Darryl Newell, Bristow, $1,500; Jon Lee Tuggle, Sapulpa, $1,500; and Ezequiel De Jesus Quintero Lopez, Tulsa, $1,925;
Former attorney Bill Raynolds, Tulsa; client Robert G. Snead, Tulsa, $3,966.22
Former attorney Derek B. Smith, Oklahoma City; client Meagan Robins, Washington, Missouri, $2,000;
Suspended Oklahoma City attorney (identity to remain confidential by court order); client lives in Bethany, $19,841.40.
More information about the Clients’ Security Fund.