Thursday, January 26, 2023
No Mitigating Factors
An attorney has been disbarred by the Minnesota Supreme Court
The Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility filed a petition for disciplinary action against respondent Ignatius Chukwuemeka Udeani. The petition alleged that Udeani breached his ethical duties to five clients, three of whom were vulnerable immigrants, including by misappropriating client funds and providing incompetent representation, and then did not cooperate with the Director’s investigations into those activities. After a hearing, the referee concluded that Udeani committed the alleged misconduct and that multiple aggravating factors were present, including Udeani’s extensive experience as a lawyer, long discipline history, lack of remorse, and the vulnerable nature of his clients who were harmed. The referee found no mitigating factors. The referee recommended that Udeani be disbarred. We agree. Based on Udeani’s misconduct, we disbar Udeani from the practice of law.
Udeani was admitted to practice law in Minnesota in 2000. He has an extensive disciplinary history: he was put on private probation in 2007; admonished in 2012 and 2013; suspended for 30 days in 2017 and, when reinstated, placed on supervised probation for a period of 2 years; indefinitely suspended for a minimum of 3 years in 2020; and admonished four more times in 2020. This prior discipline was for multiple instances of misconduct concerning Udeani’s fee arrangements with clients, trust accounts, and failure to competently and diligently represent clients.