Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gambling, Drinking Leads To Theft, Indefinite Suspension

From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of Ohio today imposed an indefinite suspension against  the law license of [an] Akron attorney...for misappropriating more than $100,000 from her law firm by depositing retainer fees she received from 32 clients into her own personal bank account rather than the firm’s accounts. [The attorney] has been under an interim license suspension  since February 2009, when the Court was notified of her conviction on a felony theft charge.

In today’s 7-0 per curiam decision, the Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that [the attorney's] actions violated the state attorney discipline rules that  prohibit conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation and conduct that adversely reflects on an attorney’s fitness to practice law; and that require an attorney to preserve the identity of client funds in his or her possession.

The Court adopted the disciplinary board’s recommendation that [the attorney] be credited with the time she has been under interim suspension. As prior conditions for future reinstatement of her license, the Court ordered that [she] must complete the term of probation imposed for her criminal conviction, enter into and comply with a contract with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance program to address gambling and alcohol addictions that contributed to her misconduct, must comply with a settlement agreement to repay her law firm’s insurer for losses arising from her thefts, and must receive a prognosis from a qualified healthcare professional that she is able to return to the competent and ethical practice of law.

The court's opinion is linked here. This link should take you to a video of the oral argument. (Mike Frisch)

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