KBA publishes “Statement of Financial Position”. Report doesn’t answer important questions.

KBA publishes “Statement of Financial Position”. Report doesn’t answer important questions.

This auditors report in the March 2012 edition of the Bench & Bar once again shows that the Bar Counsel’s Office is the single largest expenditure of the Ky. Bar Association. In the year 2011, the cost of attorney discipline rose to $1,753,745. This is an increase of $113,550 over the prior year. There is no explanation why the Bar Counsel’s Office needed an increase of $113,550 in their budget.

The financial report fails to show how much money was paid to outside counsel hired by the Bar Counsel’s Office because their staff of nine full time lawyers apparently were not qualified to represent the KBA in Federal Court hearings.

One would think that the KBA Board of Governors who has the responsibility to hire and fire attorneys for the Bar Counsel’s Office, would hire at least one or two full time lawyers who were qualified to represent the KBA in Federal court. Critics believe the Bar Counsel’s office should be more self-sufficient, and should not need to hire outside counsel at all.

We note that the State of Ohio has 40,000 lawyers to regulate and hires only 12 lawyers for handling discipline of Ohio lawyers. Kentucky has nine full time lawyers to handle the regulation of only 17,000 lawyers. This means that the Ohio Bar Association is almost twice as efficient in their work than the Ky. Bar Counsel’s office.

LawReader has asked for more financial information, and if the KBA provides that information we will publish it here. We can find no reason why detailed financial information of the KBA should not be published on the Bench & Bar web site. The auditor’s report does not provide detailed information. The KBA likes to hide behind “confidentiality” rules, but those rules only apply to ethics prosecutions. We find no legal justification for the KBA to deny requests for detailed financial reports regarding their expenditure of our dues.

The Ky. Supreme Court recently stopped the practice of the KBA Bar Counsel billing defendant attorneys for attorney fees. We believe that there should be an accounting of how much in attorney fees was improperly billed to defendant attorneys. The rules permit the billing of “court costs” but never authorized the imposition of “attorney fees” to the KBA. This billing practice appears to be linked to the Bar’s hiring outside counsel, and the liability for reimbursement of these attorney fees could easily reach six figures. We believe that it is appropriate to request information on the practice of the Bar Counsel’s Office hiring outside counsel, and the propriety of billing defendant attorneys for these expenses.


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