February 22, 2012
Not In The Public Interest
The Minnesota Supreme Court imposed an indefinite suspension of no less than two years of an attorney who had engaged in a pattern of misrepresentations, failed to maintain a trust account and failed to pay an arbitration award.
The attorney was admitted in 2002 and practiced almost exclusively as a public interest lawyer. She has had two private clients. One of those two client was the complainant in the bar discipline mtter.
The attorney was to receive an initial retainer payment of $1,000. She mistakenly was paid the full $5,000. She did not escrow the advanced fee and did not return it when she was confronted with the error and discharged.
The matter was arbitrated in favor of the client. The attorney submitted an altered retainer agreement and failed to honor the arbitration award. Further, the attorney failed to cooperate with the investigation of the client's bar complaint.
The court here held that the bar disciplinary process is not obligated to await the civil enforcement of the arbitration award. (Mike Frisch)
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