Series on lawyers unfairly depicted role of trust fundThe...

LETTERS

March 05, 1998

Series on lawyers unfairly depicted role of trust fund

The Sun series "Lawyers on trial" (Feb. 22 and 23) did not fairly portray the role of the Clients' Security Trust Fund of the Bar of Maryland in compensating victims of dishonest lawyers.

The article said that if the victim cannot recover from the lawyer, he or she must then "navigate" the fund's claim process. That implies that the procedure is difficult, which it is not.

To submit a claim, a victim merely has to complete the fund's claim form and file it with the fund. The claimant will be contacted by an investigator, who will attempt to collect all the information needed by the trustees to pass upon the claim.

The trustees meet and decide the claims initially without the claimant. If the claimant disagrees with the initial decision, he or she can request a hearing and appear before the trustees. That is a fairly simple procedure.

The article goes on to imply that a claimant can expect only partial reimbursement for his or her loss. That is incorrect.

If the trustees find there has been embezzlement, they will pay the claimant an amount that will put the claimant in a position equal to what the claimant would have been in had there been no embezzlement.

The trustees do not arbitrarily reduce a claim. However, they will not pay to any claimant more than 10 percent of the total in the fund. The purpose of this rule is, of course, to protect the fund from bankruptcy as a result of one or two giant claims.

In fiscal 1997, the fund paid a total of $351,986 to victims of dishonest lawyers. It should be remembered that the fund was started in 1965 on the initiative of the Maryland State Bar Association to maintain the integrity of the legal profession by paying money to reimburse losses caused by lawyers' embezzlements. The trustees who administer the fund do so without compensation.

The legal profession is unique in this endeavor and should receive positive recognition for its efforts on behalf of victims of lawyers who steal from clients and who, happily, constitute a very, very small percentage of the legal community.

Richard A. Reid

Towson

The writer is a trustee of the Clients' Security Trust Fund.

Antiques Row area is in need of help

Your Feb. 15 article "The Antique Row bypass" reminded me of my visit a little over a year ago to once-vibrant Read Street, around the corner from the Howard Street antique dealers.

I had hoped to shop-hop. Optimistically, I fed the meter the full two hours worth of coins. It was a gray Saturday midafternoon. Few pedestrians -- let alone shoppers -- graced the street. I bought a few sticks of incense and was out of there in 10 minutes. Now, even the incense shop has moved.

If I could think of a way to bring the people, the businesses, the sense of wonder back to these older areas, I would certainly pass it on. Bookstores? Coffee bars? Bakeries? What would get people to return? If you build it, would they come?

Dorian Borsella

Baltimore

Imposing famine on Iraq

As at least one letter writer has pointed out, it was not the potato blight itself that crushed the Irish people. Plenty of food continued to be exported, but their English overlords denied it to them.

We don't usually think of the English -- or ourselves -- as a cruel people. Yet we are imposing famine on a people whose plight will seem equally unjust when we look back on it from the comfortable distance of history.

Unable to silence Saddam Hussein, we have taken out our frustration on the men, women and children who must live under him.

When classes discuss the potato famine, will any of the teachers or students be bright -- or brave -- enough to bring this up?

Priscilla Tweed

Baltimore

St. Paul's headmistress showed grace, courage

Rarly do we see examples of grace and courage like the one demonstrated by Evelyn A. Flory, headmistress of St. Paul's School for Girls, in telling her students to be tolerant of different lifestyles -- in this case, homosexuality.

Tolerance is not the same thing as endorsement or promotion, and we applaud Dr. Flory for her stand. Too often we all stand by and let fear and intolerance rule the day.

As parents of a graduate of St. Paul's School for Girls, we are very proud of the continued moral leadership demonstrated by that school.

William Toth

Mary Toth

Columbia

Prevent gun abuse with early education

The board and staff of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) applaud The Sun's Feb. 15 editorial "Protecting children from guns."

As a solution to the needless accidental wounding and death of children because of imprudent gun storage, we join The Sun and other groups in urging legislation requiring that a trigger lock be sold with each firearm.

Last year NEMA produced and distributed a video, "In a Flash," to every middle school in Maryland and Washington.

It addresses the tragedy and consequences of gun violence among youth.

Effective prevention must begin early. To that end, we have also created an activity book for children ages 7 to 10 that addresses conflict resolution and violence prevention through puzzles, mazes and easy-to-understand material.

Frederick C. Ruof

Baltimore

The writer is chairman of the the National Emergency Medicine Association.

'H.M.S. Pinafore' better than reported

Having thoroughly enjoyed Center Stage's production of "H.M.S. Pinafore," my husband and I were disappointed by J. Wynn Rousuck's review Feb. 20.

With the small cast, each individual stood out, in addition to being part of the ensemble. The enthusiasm and sincerity of the performers elicited equal enthusiasm from the delighted audience.

I certainly hope no one decided to stay away after reading the review.

Shirley Heintz

Harwood

Pub Date: 3/05/98

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