Authored By: Barry Epstein
Sometimes, threats to an organization can come from within. At times, a trusted employee, hired and given financial responsibility, unknowingly has been given the “keys to the kingdom”.
In a recent conversation with a plaintiff attorney, I was told that their “trusted employee” had stolen from the firm and the firm’s clients over a fairly long period of time; causing a serious cash-flow problem of 100’s of thousands of dollars when discovered.
A quick Google search on Employee Dishonesty at Law Firms returned a sizable number of links to law firm stories - everything from bookkeepers, paralegals and partners helping themselves to funds in the operating cash account and firm trust fund.
The search also turned up a good article published in the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine, Preventing Theft and Fraud within Your Law Firm - written by Mary Vandenack, of the Omaha firm Vandenack Weaver. The focus of the article is Establishing Control and Prevention and provides some very good tips, including, background checks, monitoring, auditing, evaluating employee actions and obtaining Employee Dishonesty insurance to cover losses and liability.
Vandenack recommends for law firms to take a proactive approach by identifying financial vulnerabilities and stopping thefts before they occur. She also believes creating a work culture that focuses on ethical behavior can help prevent employee fraud.
Advocate Capital, Inc. understands the work that contingent-fee firms undertake is of great significance. We are proud to partner with plaintiff attorneys who fight for justice on behalf of their clients.
To read Mary Vandenack’s article about tips to protect your firm, click here.
Photo Credit: olegdudko