September 25, 2008
Less Than Disbarment And Less Than Justified
An attorney practicing primarily in Umpire, Arkansas accepted a three-year consent suspension that was approved by the Arkansas Supreme Court. The attorney was also a certified public accountant and financial planner. A client that had (through other counsel) secured a settlement near $2 million from Ford Motor Company as a result of a farm accident sought the attorney's investment advice. The client gave a total of almost $600,000 to the lawyer to invest. The client died without seeking or obtaining an accounting. When his wife then sought an accounting, she was advised that "all of her money was gone." She accepted the lawyer's offer to repay her and received two promissory notes but has not gotten a cent back. The consent acknowledges a number of ethics violations including improper business transactions, failure to account and dishonesty.
Associate Justice Glaze dissents in favor of an order of disbarment: "I strongly disagree with the majority court that approved this. It is dangerous precedent!" I agree with that view and the exclamation point! (Mike Frisch)
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