A lawyer acted as the trustee of a family trust and converted $360,000 of trust funds for his own use.
The Hearing Board recommended a two-year suspension. Additionally, the respondent cannot practice law until he reimburses the trust.
The summary of the opinion states:
“Respondent was charged with misconduct related to two matters. One matter involved a family trust, of which Respondent was trustee. Respondent intentionally and dishonestly took funds totaling more than $360,000 from the trust, conduct which warranted professional discipline. Respondent’s conduct in a civil lawsuit against him, based on his handling of that trust, did not warrant professional discipline and was not proven to prejudice the administration of justice. The other matter arose out of Respondent’s representation of a client in a civil lawsuit and involved allegations that Respondent failed to handle the matter diligently and properly communicate with the client, after the case was tried. The client did not testify, and the Hearing Board did not find the evidence sufficient to prove Respondent engaged in misconduct in handling her case. However, Respondent knowingly made false statements to the ARDC in its investigation of that case. We recommend a suspension for two years and until Respondent has satisfied the judgment against him in the civil case brought by his siblings.”
It is difficult for me to understand why the panel did not recommend disbarment.
Edward X. Clinton, Jr.