Friday, February 14, 2014
The North Dakota Supreme Court has ordered a 30-day suspension of an attorney on these stipulated facts:
[Attorney] Shaft admitted the following facts and conclusions. From 1986 to 2012, Shaft practiced in Grand Forks as a member of Shaft, Reis & Shaft, Ltd. ("SRS"). Shaft was a fifty percent shareholder, director, and a corporate officer in SRS, holding the positions of Vice President and Secretary. SRS always operated such that all compensation for legal services performed by the employed attorneys was the property of SRS. The firm did not have written policies regarding matters such as pro bono work, representing family, developing and teaching continuing education courses or mediations. Eleven times during the years he practiced at SRS, Shaft directed payments for his services be paid directly to him at his residential address, instead of to SRS. Shaft generated bills for the eleven matters listing his residence address as the billing address instead of SRS. The matters included, but were not limited to, Shaft formulating and teaching continuing education courses, handling mediations, and a situation where Shaft represented family members. The total amount of the payments Shaft received for the matters was approximately $40,000.
In December 2012, Shaft withdrew from SRS and became the sole shareholder in Grant H. Shaft, PLLC doing business as Shaft Law Office. Shaft reimbursed SRS for the total amount of payments he received for the eleven matters and, upon reimbursement, was paid a sum equal to his fifty percent interest in the amounts reimbursed. By written agreement, SRS and Shaft have resolved any remaining issues regarding similar billings.