Friday, May 3, 2013
The Iowa Supreme Court has imposed a suspension of three months of an attorney who, among other trust account problems, "paid himself numerous legal fees before they were earned and often transferred funds from the trust account into the operating account without notice to the client and without an accompanying accounting of the fee."
The attorney's trust account issues were reported by his bookkeeper. He was suspended on an interim basis for approximately seven months.
The court majority rejected reprimand as a sanction in light of the attorney's "utter disregard" for trust account obligations but found
[The attorney] recently implemented corrective measures and now operates his trust account in conformance with the required rules. He maintains confidence in his current staff and has not had problems with his trust account since his reinstatement. No client suffered harm from his actions, and no clients filed a complaint against him for his conduct. [He] is nearing retirement and has performed a significant amount of pro bono legal services...
Justice Wiggins concluded that the attorney converted client funds and should have his license revoked. (Mike Frisch)