Friday, May 14, 2010

Uh, Boss, That $40 Reimbursement Check from the Firm Bounced . . .

Joan Sanchez, a long time office manager for the Chicago business law firm of Kelly, Olson,
Michod, DeHaan & Richtere went on vacation to Hawaii when an attorney in the firm sought to cash a $40 reimbursement check for expenses, bummer insufficient funds.  Turns out, Joan, the office manager had embezzled nearly a million dollars from the firm over a number of years according to a report at the Chicago Sun Times (with a tip of the Borsalino to the ABAJournal website).  Joan returned from Hawaii and is now decompressing in the Cook County jail. 

This story is so common, and not unique to law firms; although lawyers risk ethical violations for these acts.  In the Bad Lawyer's situation, I was so out of touch with my checking accounts, my "office manager" had pegged payment of her utility, furniture rental, and Home Depot accounts to my IOLTA (trust account.)  Talk about willful blindness!  Mine. 

Business law firms tend not to get disciplinary attention when these sorts of malfactoring support staff steal from the law firm.  It's one of the double standards, like when legendary clergy sex abuse attorney Jeff Anderson gets bashed in the the Wall Street Journal for earning lots of money as a result of suing pedophiles and perpetrators in the Church; while, Big Law firms are celebrated for their million dollar plus partner profits and their posh law office digs almost always featured at their websites, check the link for Kelly, Olson!

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