Unfortunately, personal injury lawyers frequently get in trouble for “borrowing” or stealing client settlement money from their escrow accounts.
Some lawyers eventually get arrested if they stole client money from their attorney escrow account but many lawyers only get disbarred when they “borrowed” client money from their attorney escrow account. Lawyers are not allowed to borrow money from escrow accounts, even if the money is immediately replaced.
A quick search on Google for “lawyer arrested escrow” or “lawyer disbarred escrow” and other similar searches will discover quite a few lawyers who have taken client money from escrow accounts. The Queens DA says these two Long Island lawyers stole over $7 million from clients.
When choosing a New York personal injury lawyer to represent you for your injury from an accident, how do you know whether you can trust your lawyer?
It’s not easy to find out and you probably would feel uncomfortable asking a prospective employer. Even if you did have the courage to ask, what lawyer would admit to having borrowed money from their attorney escrow account?
There are only two ways you can discover potential problems.
One way which is not very effective is to search the attorney’s name on the New York Attorney Registration Search page which will reveal if the attorney ever had any disciplinary action. A search of Avvo.com will also reveal that information. However, by the time that information is listed, the attorney is probably no longer working.
Another way is to look at the attorney’s FICO credit score. A poor credit score indicates an inability to pay bills on time. A lawyer with a poor credit score is more susceptible to “borrowing” or stealing money from the attorney escrow account.
But again, would you have the courage to ask for proof of a personal injury attorney’s credit score? And if you did, it’s doubtful that an attorney would disclose it. There is no way you can check an attorney’s credit rating without permission.
That’s why I’m disclosing my credit score here which shows a FICO credit score of 850 out of a possible 850. My credit score typically ranges from 835-850 depending upon factors such as opening a new account which usually temporarily lowers a score.
If you already have a personal injury lawyer representing you for your accident and you’re wondering why you haven’t received your settlement check yet, read: How long does it take to get my settlement check after settling my accident case?
Before deciding on which personal injury lawyer to use for your accident case, read the Questions To Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury or Accident Lawyer.
Philip L. Franckel, Esq.
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