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Lawyer Has My $1,000,000 Settlement, Won't Release It!

  • Thread starter Waiting in Washington
  • Start date

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Waiting in Washington

My attorney recently received a settlement of over ONE MILLION dollars in my case. The check has cleared the bank (per federal regulations) and the money is now sitting in an IOLTA account, of which I will not get interest. The lawyer won't return my calls or tell me when he will wire my money into my bank account. Is there a law that says how long a lawyer can keep a client's settlement award money? He is making massive interest on it and I am understandably anxious to get my money! What can I do? How long do law firms usually take to disburse a client's money to the client? See additional information in my response.

[Edited by Waiting in Washington on 01-27-2001 at 02:03 PM]


Waiting in Washington

More Info

I have searched the Revised Code of Washington (statute) and WAC (Washington Administrative Code) without luck. The Washington Rules of Professional Conduct say that an attorey should promptly remit a client's money to the client if the funds are no longer required by the attorney (which they are not, as the attorney has already taken his percentage and expenses) - but I cannot find a definitive timeline which I can present to the law firm to encourage them to release my money to me.


Senior Member
Send two letters; one to the attorney, Certified RRR, and cc the other to the Washington State Bar Association (phone: 800-945-WSBA or 206-443-WSBA). In your letter, include the full details (amount, dates, etc) and that you demand the funds be transferred to you within 3 days of receipt.

Also, you might be interested in the following:

The WSBA (Washington State Bar Association) Office of Disciplinary Counsel has a website with an online complaint form at: http://www.wsba.org/discipline.html

The WSBA Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC)
"b) A lawyer shall:
(1) Promptly notify a client of the receipt of his or her funds, securities, or other properties;
(2) Identify and label securities and properties of a client promptly upon receipt and place them in a safe deposit box or other place of safekeeping as soon as practicable;
(3) Maintain complete records of all funds, securities, and other properties of a client coming into the possession of the lawyer and render appropriate accounts to his or her client regarding them;
(4) Promptly pay or deliver to the client as requested by a client the funds, securities, or other properties in the possession of the lawyer which the client is entitled to receive."

Washington Court Rules for Lawyer Discipline (RLD)
"(i) Violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the profession adopted by the Supreme Court of the State of Washington;"

Hope that this helps... Oh, and no fee!!!


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