The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Philadelphia resident and former estate paralegal Kathy Foer-Morse will likely not get a reference from her last two employers, New York firm Satterlee, Stephens, Burke & Burke and Philadelphia firm High Swartz. A representative of High Swartz says that Ms. Foer-Morse was terminated on May 1, 2009 for tardiness and disappearing during the work day. Then the firm discovered that over $100,000.00 had gone missing, too.
Ms. Foer-Morse has been charged with several counts of theft and forgery and is accused of preparing unauthorized checks from multiple estate accounts she was responsible for managing. She is currently jailed, pending payment of a $99,000.00 cash bond.
In a case of what may be this year’s most bungled prospective employee background check (the law firm is blaming a recruiter), Ms. Foer-Morse had been previously charged in New York with stealing $285,000.00 in trust fund proceeds. She was allegedly using the proceeds from her Philadelphia gig to pay restitution in the New York case.
A crucial malpractice avoidance tip for law firms is to thoroughly vet prospective employees, especially those who will have access to firm and client funds. If a firm does use an outside recruiter, those in charge of hiring should still ask to see the actual documents from the background check, and retain the report in the employee’s personnel file if he or she is hired.