Lawyers belong to one of the few professions that have established mechanisms to reimburse clients who have suffered financial losses due to the misconduct of a few of its members. Almost every jurisdiction in the United States and Canada has a lawyers’ fund for client protection, including Hawaii. Client protection funds are financed entirely by lawyer contributions. Not a single dollar comes from taxpayers or government subsidy.
The Hawaii Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection is established by Rule 10 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Hawaii. These rules form the basis under which the Fund operates. The Fund exists as a public service of the Court which recognizes that lawyers, collectively, have an obligation to keep faith with clients who have been harmed by those very few lawyers who have abused their position of trust.
Reimbursements are limited to losses occurring within a lawyer-client relationship or when a lawyer is serving in a fiduciary capacity. The Hawaii Lawyers’ Fund will reimburse up to $100,000 per claimant or $300,000 per attorney.
The Hawaii Lawyers’ Fund contracts with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel to provide the Fund with staff and administrative support. All decisions of the Fund are made by five Trustees appointed by the Supreme Court of Hawaii; all of whom serve voluntarily without compensation.
H. Shan Wirt, Esq., Trustee & Chair
Lyle M. Ishida, Esq., Trustee and Vice Chair
Michael A. Marr, Esq., Trustee and Secretary
Shannon K. Asato, Trustee & Treasurer
Audrey Takamine, Trustee
Bradley R. Tamm, Esq, Fund Administrator
Walter Hebblethwaite, Fund Counsel
Joanna Sayavong, Fund Investigator
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