Thursday, August 13, 2020

Unearned Fees Must Be Held In Trust

The Ohio Supreme Court has imposed a fully-stayed one year suspension for an attorney's practice of not placing retainer advances in an escrow account.

In addition to two specific matters

between February 2017 and November 2019, Turner was attorney of record in 19 domestic-relations cases, which she admitted required the handling of client funds. Turner, however, deposited those client funds into her operating account rather than her client trust account. She also admitted that she did not regularly use her client trust account during that time period. Based on that conduct, Turner stipulated and the board found that she committed another violation of Prof.Cond.R. 1.15(a).

Sanction

Given that Turner failed to properly deposit retainers into her client trust account—or to even use the account—for almost two years, we agree that a one-year suspension, stayed in its entirety on conditions, including monitored probation, is appropriate. That sanction is consistent with the sanctions we have imposed on other attorneys who similarly failed to comply with the requirements of Prof.Cond.R. 1.15 over an extended period of time.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2020/08/unearned-fees-must-be-held-in-trust.html

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