N.D.R. Lawyer Discipl.RULE 6.4.PROFESSIONAL TRUSTEESHIPS.
1 A. Inventory of Attorney Files, Trust Assets, and Other Duties. If a lawyer
2 has been transferred to disability inactive or incapacitated status, placed on interim
3 suspension, or has been suspended or disbarred, and there is evidence of
4 non-compliance with Rule 6.3; or if a lawyer has apparently abandoned the
5 lawyer's law practice, or has died, and no partner, shareholder, personal
6 representative, administrator, executor or other responsible party capable of
7 conducting the lawyer's affairs is known to exist, the presiding judge in the judicial
8 district in which the lawyer's primary place of business is located, upon the
9 application of any interested party, may appoint one or more lawyers as a
10 professional trustee, to inventory the active files of the lawyer, to take control of
11 the attorney's trust and business accounts and any trust assets, to take possession of
12 the attorney's law practice, and to take appropriate action, including marshalling
13 assets of the law practice, primarily to protect the interests of the lawyer's clients
14 and secondarily to protect the interests of the lawyer. Notice of such order of
15 appointment must be given to the clerk.
16 B. Protection
for of Records. Any professional trustee so appointed is not
17 permitted to disclose information contained in any files without the consent of the
18 client to whom the file relates, except as necessary to carry out the appointment
19 order of the court.
20 C. Instructions. The professional trustee may apply to the presiding judge in
21 the judicial district issuing the order of appointment for instructions whenever
22 necessary to carry out or conclude the duties and obligations imposed by this rule.
23 D. Immunity. All professional trustees appointed under this rule have
24 qualified immunity from liability for conduct in the performance of their official
25 duties. This immunity does not extend to employment under section E.
26 E. Acceptance of Clients. With the consent of any client, the appointed
27 professional trustee may, but need not, accept employment to complete any legal
29 F. Legal Fees and Costs. The professional trustee is entitled to
30 reimbursement for actual expenses incurred for costs (including physical office
31 overhead, publication of notices, travel, secretarial, telephone, postage, moving
32 and storage expenses) and for reasonable hourly fees. Application for approval of
33 costs and fees must be to the presiding judge in the judicial district issuing the
34 order of appointment at the conclusion of the trusteeship and must be accompanied
35 by an accounting of all assets coming into the professional trustee's possession.
36 Any application must be made on such notice to the board and to the lawyer or, if
37 deceased, to the lawyer's personal representative, or administrator as the court may
38 order. For good cause shown, an interim application for costs and legal fees may
39 be made. The professional trustee shall, from the time of appointment, have
40 absolute priority as an administrative expense against the law practice of the
41 lawyer, including all personal and other property incident to the practice and all
42 legal fees due the lawyer, whether arising before or after the appointment. To the
43 extent such assets of the lawyer are insufficient to pay approved professional
44 trustees fees and costs, the board shall pay the same if funds are available. To the
45 extent the funds of an identifiable interest bearing trust account cannot be traced
46 back to a particular client by the professional trustee, the funds may be applied
47 toward client claims, creditors, and the approved fees and costs of the professional
48 trustee, with the remaining amount deposited into the client protection fund.
49 EXPLANATORY NOTE
50 Rule 6.4 was adopted effective January 1, 1995, amended effective March
51 1, 2017.
52 Section B was amended effective March 1, 2017, to make a technical
54 Section F was amended effective March 1, 2017, to provide for the
55 disposition of funds in a trust account when the funds cannot be traced to a
56 particular client.