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National Client Protection Organization

Fall Workshop 2017

Speaker Biographies


Bree Buchanan, J.D., is Director of the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program of the State Bar of Texas. She serves as co-chair of the National Task Force on Lawyer Wellbeing and is a co-author of its 2017 report: The Path to Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. Ms. Buchanan is chair of the ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs (CoLAP). She is also an appointee to the Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession, an initiative of ABA President Hilarie Bass.


Ms. Buchanan, upon graduation from the University of Texas School of Law, practiced in the public and private sector with a focus on representing both adult and child victims of family violence. She worked on public policy initiatives and systems change at both the state and federal level as the Public Policy Director for the Texas Council on Family Violence and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. After this position, Ms. Buchanan was appointed Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Children's Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law.


Ms. Buchanan is a frequent speaker at CLE programs for national organizations, as well as for state and local bar entities. She is a graduate student at the Seminary of the Southwest where she is pursuing a Masters in Spiritual Direction, and is the proud parent of a senior at New York University. Ms. Buchanan tends to her own well-being by engaging in a regular meditation practice, rowing, staying connected to 12-Step recovery and being willing to ask for help when she needs it.


Robin Lawnichak has worked for the State Bar of Michigan since July 2002 administering the Client Protection Fund.  The Fund, established by the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners, in an effort to promote public confidence in the legal profession, investigates and determines claims seeking reimbursement for losses caused by the dishonest conduct of members of the Michigan State Bar.  During her tenure, Trust Account Overdraft Notification program was adopted; the maximums have increased to $150,000/$375,000; the Fund hosted the 2016 NCPO Fall Workshop, implemented a file management system, and acquired a direct annual assessment.  Ms. Lawnichak received a Bachelor of Science and an Associate in Applied Science degree from Ferris State University.


James Ehler is the Deputy Counsel for Litigation and the San Antonio Regional Counsel for the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel at the State Bar of Texas. James received his J.D. in 1987 from the South Texas College of Law and his B.A. in 1984 from Texas Lutheran University. As San Antonio Regional Counsel James has handled numerous immigration-related disciplinary matters.


Stanton A. Hazlett received his B.G.S. from the University of Kansas and his J.D. from Washburn University School of Law. From 1977 through 1986 he was engaged in private practice in Lawrence, Kansas. He has been employed by the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office since 1986. In September of 1997, he was appointed to the position of Disciplinary Administrator by the Kansas Supreme Court.

 

Michael E. Harmon is the Deputy Director at the Arkansas Supreme Court, Office of Professional Conduct. Active with the Arkansas Client Security Fund Committee since 1988, Michael is the Midwest Regional Vice Presi­dent of NCPO, and has also served on the ABA’s Standing Committee on Client Protection. Mr. Harmon chaired the sub-committee of the ABA that drafted the Model Rules for Client Trust Account Records that was eventually adopted by the ABA in 2010.


Daniel R. Hendi is director and counsel of the New Jersey Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, www.njcourts.com/cpf. He began with the Fund in 1988 as legal counsel and has represented the board of trustees before state and federal courts, including bankruptcy court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. His representation of the Fund before the NJ Supreme Court have resulted in decisions that served to replenish and preserve assets and reserves by asserting liability upon collateral sources. Dan serves the National Client Protection Organization as a director-at-large and is a member of its Speakers’ Bureau; he has also served on the ABA Standing Committee on Client Protection. Dan frequently presents at seminars and forums on topical subjects such as subrogation, budgeting, and law practice succession planning. He is a co-founder of Hunterdon Outreach Programs at www.HunterdonOutreach.org, a 501(c)(3) sports organization for special needs children and community volunteers.


Bruce Kim obtained his J.D. from Seattle University School of Law in 1978. He returned home to Hawaii following graduation and spent over 30 years in a civil litigation practice before his appointment in July 2011 as the Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection in the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.  Mr. Kim served as OCP ’s Executive Director until February 2015. After leaving the Office of Consumer Protection, Mr. Kim joined the Office of Disciplinary Counsel as Assistant Disciplinary Counsel in May 2015.  In March 2017, Mr. Kim was appointed Chief Disciplinary Counsel by the Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court


Michael J. Knight, Sr. is Deputy Counsel of the Lawyers' Fund For Client Protection of the State of New York. Mr. Knight is a 1987 magna cum laude graduate of Niagara University and 1990 graduate from the Albany Law School of Union University. Mr. Knight serves as President-Emeritus for the National Client Protection Organization, Inc. and is the co-author of the Appendix of CLE Materials (1999), and Client Protection Funds: A Bibliography of Selected Materials (1995, 1999, 2012). He resides in Delmar, New York with his wife and four sons.


Kathleen Lewis has worked for the District of Columbia Bar since 2005, overseeing the Attorney/Client Relations Program, which encompasses the Attorney/Client Arbitration Board (“ACAB”) and the Clients’ Security Fund (the “Fund”). The ACAB is a mandatory arbitration program, resolving disputes between lawyers and their clients over fees paid, charged or claimed for legal services. The ACAB also offers a voluntary mediation service for legal fee disputes. The Fund, established by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, is committed to maintaining the integrity of the legal profession. The Fund reviews and determines claims seeking reimbursement for losses caused by members of the District of Columbia Bar for conduct tantamount to theft.


Ms. Lewis received a Bachelor of Arts, graduating cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Juris Doctor from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. She is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in the District of Columbia.


Ms. Lewis is a regular speaker at the District of Columbia Bar Mandatory Course, a CLE program for new admittees to the District of Columbia Bar. She also speaks at various other courses about arbitration and mediation, and client protection issues.


Kathryn Peifer Morgan, Esquire, is the Executive Director for the Fund. Ms. Morgan assumed this position in April 1997. She is a graduate of Central Penn College, Penn State University and Widener University School of Law, now Widener University Commonwealth Law. Ms. Morgan has served as a panelist at several of the forums and workshops sponsored by the American Bar Association's National Forum on Client Protection and the National Client Protection Organization and currently serves as the President for the National Client Protection Organization. She has served as an adjunct professor at Central Penn College and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Legal Studies Program at Central Penn College. She also serves on the Board of Advisors for Widener University Commonwealth Law and the Children's Dyslexia Center of Central Pennsylvania Board. Ms. Morgan is a member of the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations.


Martin J. Newhouse, Esq., was appointed to the Board effective December 1, 2013. Mr. Newhouse is President of the New England Legal Foundation. Founded in 1977, NELF is a public interest nonprofit and nonpartisan courtroom advocate for the New England business community, as well as a resource on important business law and property rights issues. Prior to joining NELF in 2004, Mr. Newhouse had a twenty-year legal career at Ropes & Gray LLP, where he was a partner in the Litigation Department, chair of the firm’s pro bono committee, and advised the firm on legal ethics. As President of NELF, Mr. Newhouse oversees a legal staff that is active in appellate litigation throughout New England and the rest of the country, filing amicus briefs in both state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, in business and property rights cases. Mr. Newhouse served as a Hearing Officer for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers from 2003-2009, is a member of the Boston Bar Association’s Ethics Committee, and teaches Professional Responsibility at Suffolk University Law School. Mr. Newhouse received an A.B. in economics from Columbia College, a Ph.D. in modern European history from Columbia University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. In addition to his legal activities, Mr. Newhouse is on the Advisory Boards of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Winchester Community Music School, and has published on a variety of subjects from the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to current legal issues.


Alecia M. Ruswinckel joined the State Bar on Michigan in December, 2014, as Professional Standards Assistant Counsel. Her responsibilities include managing the Client Protection Fund, answering the Bar's ethics helpline, and presenting in ethics seminars across the State. Additionally, she is staff liaison to the Client Protection Fund Standing Committee, Professional Ethics Committee, and Judicial Ethics Committee. Prior to joining the Bar, Ms. Ruswinckel was an associate attorney with Anderson, Stull & Associates, focusing her practice on general civil matters including business, real estate, probate, and family law. Ms. Ruswinckel is a graduate of Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School, magna cum laude.