Dishonest attorneys prompted the awarding of $7.1 million in 2006 from the New York Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, which warned Thursday that the fund is likely to start seeing claims from the largest case of lawyer theft in its 25-year history.

Last year, the fund paid out $1 million less than the $8.1 million awarded in 2005. The average awarded annually over the last five years has been just over $6.3 million. (The report is available at www.nylawfund.org.)

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