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money coinsEvery two years, all lawyers registered to practice in New York state file with the Office of Court Administration. From each registration fee, $30 are annually directed to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection (the Fund), which in turn has generated the astronomical sum of $226,000,000 in payouts to law clients who were victimized by a small fraction of thieving attorneys. The Fund, which was a creation of the State Legislature in 1981, and overseen by the seven judges of New York’s Court of Appeals, uses not one dollar of taxpayer money, nor are we affiliated in any way with more widely known IOLA program.

Columbia Law alumnus William R. Nojay, a single practitioner in Monroe County, had a career of accomplishments. A former appointee of Governor Pataki, a director of a not-for-profit foundation, and state assemblyman, he nonetheless found the time to steal over $1 million from a trusting client. The theft came from an escrow fund that Nojay established for his client during the course of an international dispute. Nojay returned $700,000, leaving his client with a $337,000 loss, which was refunded in full by the Fund.

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