Hawaii Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection of the Hawai'i Supreme Court

FAQ's

Q:        I don’t know if my case is eligible or not.  What should I do?

 

A:         Call the Lawyers’ Fund at (808) 521-4591 and discuss your situation with one of our staff members.

 

 

Q:        One of your eligibility requirements is that the attorney must be licensed to practice law in the state of Hawaii.  From what I’ve learned, my attorney isn’t licensed here.  What can I do?

 

A:         Call the Lawyers’ Fund at (808) 521-4591 and discuss your situation with one of our staff members.  But generally speaking, the Hawaii Lawyers’ Fund will not reimburse a claim against an attorney who is not licensed to practice in Hawaii.

 

 

Q:        My attorney didn’t have me sign a contract or agreement when I first asked him to do some legal work for me.  And, although I asked, he didn’t give me a receipt.  And I paid him cash.  What can I do?

 

A:         You need to somehow provide the Lawyers’ Fund with some evidence that you had somehow hired your attorney, and that you did indeed pay him in some manner.  Written agreements and receipts are always best.  Cancelled checks are also good forms of documentation.  If you don’t have any of these items, you probably don’t have a strong claim however call the Lawyers’ Fund office to discuss your situation.

 

 

Q:        My attorney received my insurance claim settlement and spent it all.  He asked to borrow the money and said that he had to use my insurance check to pay his bills.  I said ok, but then he didn’t pay me as he had promised.  Can I get reimbursed by the Lawyers’ Fund.?

 

A:         It seems that you may have an eligible claim.  However please call the Lawyers’ Fund to discuss your situation further. 

 

 

Q:        What happens once I file my claim?  How long does this take?

 

A:         Your claim application is reviewed by one of our investigators.  It must meet all of our eligibility requirements.  They may ask you to clarify your information, or ask that you provide additional documentation.  They will also notify the attorney involved and ask that he or she respond to your claim.  Once all the information is in, the investigator will review your claim with the Fund administrator and a recommendation will be made to the Fund Trustees.  Trustees will then make a decision and you will be notified. 

 

            This process may take as short as a couple of months or longer than a year.  It depends on the circumstances behind your claim, and the amount and quality of information and documentation that you can provide. 

 

 

Q:        What kind of documents would I need to provide?

 

A:         We usually ask for copies of any agreements or contracts that you may have signed with your attorney, that spells out the basis under which you hired your attorney.  Copies of cancelled checks or receipts evidencing payments to your attorney as well.  Copies of any legal documents that your attorney may have prepared as well as any correspondence (written, email, or otherwise) that may have been sent between yourself and your attorney.  There may be other documents that our investigator may ask for. 

 

 

Q:        My friend told me that she didn’t have to pay as much as I did for the work that my attorney performed.  I’d like to file a claim.

 

A:         Disputes over the amount of an attorney’s fees are not eligible claims.  That should be taken up directly with your attorney.  However if you paid your attorney and they did not do any work for you, then that may be grounds for a claim.  Please contact our office and discuss your situation further.

 

 

Q:        What is a ‘Subrogation Agreement’?  Why am I being asked to sign one?

 

A:         A Subrogation Agreement  assigns one’s rights to something, to another party.  In the case of the Hawaii Lawyers’ Fund, we require claimants who are approved for reimbursement, sign Subrogation Agreements before reimbursements are made.  That gives the Hawaii Lawyers’ Fund the right to receive reimbursement from the attorney involved.  This is a mandatory requirement.  If monies are later recovered from the subject attorney, those funds will go to reimburse the Hawaii Lawyers’ Fund for what was reimbursed to you. 

 

 

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