The Random Audit and Common Accounting Mistakes
Date: Jul 6, 2022 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
- Marc D. Garfinkle, Esq.
- The Law Office of Marc Garfinkle, Morristownmaintains a solo practice in Morristown, New Jersey, where since 2012 he has limited his practice to matters relating to legal ethics, bar admission, judicial misconduct and attorney discipline. He has also been the municipal public defender in Livingston, New Jersey.
Admitted to practice in New Jersey and California, and before the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and the Northern District of California, Mr. Garfinkle is a former New Jersey ethics investigator and has been a member of the American, New Jersey State, Morris County and Essex County Bar Associations, as well as the Association for CLE Administrators (ACLEA). He is Past Chair of the District VB Ethics Committee, has written a monthly “Practice Paper” on legal ethics for the New Jersey Law Journal, and is a frequent guest of the media in professional responsibility matters. In addition to lecturing for ICLE, Mr. Garfinkle produces live ethics and “new lawyer” CLE for attorneys coast to coast, and his clients have included state bar associations in Ohio, Missouri, South Carolina, Alaska and Oregon, as well as the ICE trial attorneys for the United States Department of Homeland Security. His online programs have been produced by Lawline.com, West LegalEduCenter, Solo University.com and RocketMatterCLE, among other providers. Having taught Persuasion and Advocacy at Seton Hall Law School since 2007, he is also the self-published author of several books including $olo Contendere: How to Go Directly from Law School into the Practice of Law Without Getting a Job (3d. Ed.), The Hip-Pocket Guide to Testifying in Court, The New Lawyer’s Hip-Pocket Guide to Appearing in Court and The Hip-Pocket Guide to Speaking in Public.
Mr. Garfinkle received his B.A. from Marietta College and his J.D. from UC Hastings (formerly Hastings College of the Law, University of California).
For over 40 years, the New Jersey Supreme Court has mandated permanent disbarment in all cases where a lawyer has knowingly misappropriated a client’s property.
Knowing misappropriation has included cases in which an attorney withdraws money from a trust account and repays it before the client needs to use the money.
New Jersey is one of only eight states that do not currently allow a disbarred attorney to apply for readmission in certain instances.
Many cases of misappropriation are discovered during the random audit.
Every practicing lawyer in New Jersey must maintain both a trust and business account, and is subject to a random audit by the Office of Attorney Ethics. The purpose of the Random Audit Program is to ensure that law firms maintain required records of clients' funds and attorneys' fees. While the idea behind carefully maintaining these records is clear, some of the rules and procedures may not be.
With this informative and interesting new program, you’ll learn the most important strategies and time-saving tips to properly create and maintain your trust accounts, document your financial transactions, and avoid violating the recordkeeping rule (R. 1:21-6) and the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC 1.15). You’ll hear from an ethics expert as he explains why you must always be “audit ready” - and how to maintain your records and bookkeeping so that the random audit process is smooth and painless. In the end, you’ll also learn how to spot record and trust accounting red flags, and how to avoid inadvertent pitfalls and mistakes that can result in professional discipline.
• How the Random Audit program operates
• Everything you need to know about attorney record keeping
• How to determine whether you must maintain an IOLTA Attorney Trust Account
• How to clear your trust account of unidentified funds and funds belonging to unfindable owners
• The importance of monthly 3-way reconciliation, and how to begin the process if you have not been doing it
• Why you should NOT deposit your retainers into your IOLTA trust account
• Which trust account violations will NOT get you disbarred
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