Good Lawyering 101: Know Your Client

Good Lawyering 101: Know Your Client

Roberta Arnone
 | 
Attorneys, bankers and notaries are on the front line of defense against fraud.

Regardless of your area of practice, it is important to know your client and make sure the person is who he/she/they claims to be.  

“Know Your Customer” or KYC is what banks and brokers have implemented as a result of the
U.S. Patriot Act of 2001. In a nutshell, that requires bank representatives to procure two forms of identification to commence a relationship.

An attorney needs this information not only to verify the identity of the person who is interested in engaging them, but to get the name right on all documents you will be preparing for notarization to be either recorded or filed in court.

A good lawyer knows their client and has a copy of their client’s current photo identification in their file. A U.S. passport and state issued driver’s license or non-driver’s ID are top on the list and a great place to start. For non-travelers without a passport, another government- based identification is ideal such as military ID.

The City of New York, for example, offers a free photo identification card. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, secondary pieces of identification include the following: a birth certificate, social security card, DHS employment authorization, 1-197 U.S. Citizen ID Card, U.S. Permanent Resident Card or a Native American Tribal document. 

Which legal matters see the highest rate of imposter scams? Deed fraud, Estate Planning Fraud and Identity Theft involving divorce and family court.  
 
This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
Roberta Arnone

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