This case, In re Edelen, 2015 PR 00026, alleges that a lawyer earned a fee for prosecuting a claim and that he negligently left his own money (the legal fee) in the trust account thereby commingling funds.
The lawyer did not convert any money. His only sin was keeping his own money in the trust account too long. The ARDC alleges:
“5. Pursuant to the terms of the retainer agreement with Konieczka, Respondent was entitled to the remaining balance of $45,096.04 as his fees from the settlement proceeds. Respondent failed to withdrew those fees in a timely manner from account ending in the four digits 7465, instead allowing the funds to remain on deposit in account ending in the four digits 7465.
- allowing his own funds, fees related to the representation of the Koniecka estate, to remain on deposit in his IOLTA account in excess of what would be necessary to pay bank service charges and therefore, commingling, in violation of Rule 1.15(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct[.]”
The lesson to draw from this complaint is to be careful to withdraw legal fees from the trust account promptly. I feel for the lawyer here who must retain counsel and fight this case for a minor infraction.
Edward X. Clinton, Jr.