Friday, January 6, 2012
The Iowa Supreme Court has imposed a 30-day suspension for misconduct that primarily involved trust account violations and failure to return unearned fees.
The court noted that the attorney has an extensive statewide criminal defense practice and handles major felony cases: "He drove over 120,000 miles throughout the state while pursuing a challenging and complex trial practice. In the last ten years alone, [he] represented 1105 clients of whom 225 were indigent. " He also "complied an admirable record of public service" coaching youth teams and in other community service.
Sloppy billing practices and a stressful trial schedule might explain delays in preparing and sending clients accurate billing statements, but does not justify a lawyer paying himself fees before earning them or failing to properly bill for them.