Frequently Asked Questions
DO I NEED A LAWYER TO HELP ME COMPLETE THE CLAIM FORM?
No, you do not. You may contact us at 617-728-8758 or email@example.com with any questions you may have. If, however, a lawyer does help, by Supreme Judicial Court rule that lawyer may not charge you for that service.
HOW SOON AFTER I DISCOVER THAT MY LAWYER STOLE FROM ME MAY I FILE MY CLAIM?
The Board does not have jurisdiction to act on a claim until the lawyer: 1) is disbarred; 2) is suspended indefinitely or for a fixed period; 3) has resigned as a disciplinary sanction; or 4) has died. If you submit your claim form before one of those events, the Board must defer any action on it until it has jurisdiction. You may check on the status of your lawyer at https://www.massbbo.org/ where you can complete the “Look Up An Attorney” box.
MAY I SUBMIT MY CLAIM FORM AS AN ATTACHMENT TO AN E-MAIL?
Yes, however, after you sign the completed form, you must scan the form and all supporting documents as a PDF before attaching it to your e-mail addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must then mail the original documents to us at:
Clients’ Security Board
99 High Street – 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02110-2320
IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO FILE A CLAIM?
The answers are “no” and “yes.” No, because the Board does not have a statute of limitations for filing a claim. Yes, because if you wait for several years after you discover your loss, you run the risk of losing or misplacing the documentary evidence (cancelled checks, fee agreements, letters, e-mails, etc.) that you need to prove the theft. In those circumstances, the Board might consider your delay to be negligence which may disqualify you from receiving a reimbursement. Best guideline: File your claim as soon as you discover that your lawyer stole from you.
AFTER YOU RECEIVE MY CLAIM FORM, HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR MY CLAIM TO BE DECIDED?
That depends on several factors: how thoroughly your have completed the form; whether you have attached all necessary documents; whether your lawyer contests your claim; and the number of claims in line ahead of yours. Despite those variables, the Board endeavors to decide all claims within 12 months of their filing.
IF THE BOARD VOTES TO REIMBURSE ME FOR MY LAWYER’S THEFT, HOW LONG MUST I WAIT UNTIL I ACTUALLY RECEIVE THE MONEY?
You will receive your award check approximately one month after you return a signed agreement (the Assignment) to the Board. We will send the Assignment to you to complete and return as soon as the Board approves your award. The Assignment transfers to the Board your right to recover from your lawyer the amount of the reimbursement paid to you. If you return that form promptly, your check will be signed and sent to you by certified mail.
I PAID MY LAWYER TO REPRESENT ME IN A LAW SUIT. HE MADE MISTAKES THAT CAUSED ME TO LOSE THE CASE. I FEEL AS IF HE STOLE MY MONEY. MAY I FILE A CLAIM WITH THE BOARD?
Yes, you may file a claim, but you are not likely to receive a reimbursement. What you described sounds like negligence or legal malpractice and the Board does not reimburse for losses due to negligence or malpractice. The Board also does not reimburse in situations that are fee disputes: “My lawyer charged me too much money.” The Board only reimburses in cases of theft from a client.
WHAT ABOUT INTEREST? MY LAWYER STOLE FROM ME SEVERAL YEARS AGO AND I WOULD LIKE TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE INTEREST I LOST.
The Board reimburses only for the amount that your lawyer actually stole. It does not reimburse for interest and it does not reimburse for punitive or consequential damages. It only reimburses for the amount actually stolen by the lawyer.