THE LEGAL profession in Limerick has been rocked again after the High Court moved to suspend a city solicitor and ordered him to wind-up his practice over a six-figure deficit in his client account.
Solicitor Chris Lynch, a well-known and respected lawyer in the city, has been suspended from practising due to a €246,000 deficit in his client account.
A spokesperson for the Law Society has confirmed to the Limerick Leader that it has also ordered him to make “satisfactory proposals” for the winding up of his practice.
The court also froze the bank accounts of Christopher Lynch, practising as Christopher Lynch and Co, 99 O’Connell Street, on September 19.
High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns lifted an “in camera” order which had prohibited the naming of Mr Lynch. Details of the case had been heard at length on a previous occasion, but had not been reported by the media.
The judge rejected an application from a barrister on behalf of Mr Lynch for an adjournment after counsel for the Law Society told the court the deficit had increased from €221,000 last August to €246,000, with only €42,000 in funds available to meet it.
Mr Lynch, a member of the Limerick Solicitors’ Bar Association who registered his business practice in 2005, had been practising before Judge Eugene O’Kelly in the District Court up to last Thursday.
“This has come as a huge shock to us all. He is one of the nicest solicitors you could meet in court and no one has ever had a bad word to say about him,” said a member of the legal profession, who did not wish to be named.
He is one of the highest earning legal aid solicitors in Limerick, receiving over €193,000 last year, another €181,000 in 2010, in excess of €246,000 in 2009 and nearly €256,000 in 2008.
Mr Lynch was before the High Court on these matters in recent months, whilst also testifying as a witness in a case involving another two Limerick solicitors, John Devane and John Herbert, who each had accused the other of assault at the court complex in two separate cases.
He is the third Limerick solicitor in two years to be suspended from practising until further notice by the courts.
Solicitor Aiden Barry, based at Bank Place in the city, was suspended in September for misconduct - an order which was featured in the most recent issue of the Law Society Gazette. His suspension followed an investigation by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. In July of last year solicitor Michael Small, Newenham Street, was suspended after he lodged client’s money into a secret account. The High Court heard there was a €1.2million deficit in the secret account.
Efforts to contact Mr Lynch through a number of channels were unsuccessful yesterday.