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Bar Counsel Report: May 2013

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bar counsel report
May 2013
SUPREME COURT OF NEVADA
In re: Jonathan R. Patterson Docket No.: 59745 Filed: February 22, 2013 ORDER OF APPROVING CONDITIONAL PLEA AGREEMENT AND SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW
Attorney suspended from the practice of law for two years following criminal conviction. This matter involves an automatic review of a Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board hearing panel’s recommendation to approve attorney Jonathan R. Patterson’s conditional guilty plea in exchange for a stated form of discipline pursuant to SCR 113. Under the plea agreement, Patterson admits to violating RPC 8.4(b) (misconduct). This violation stems from Patterson’s criminal guilty plea to a gross misdemeanor.1 The agreed upon discipline provides that Patterson: 1. Be suspended from the practice of law for two years, retroactive to November 15, 2010; 2. Continue to attend group therapy sessions at Red Rock Psychological Services until successful completion of the program; 3. Continue to participate in individual therapy sessions until and unless the provider indicates, in writing, that Patterson no longer requires therapy; 4. Continue to participate in Sex Addicts Anonymous during the term of his suspension; 5. Submit a copy of a psychosexual evaluation performed by a medical provider, previously approved by bar counsel, dated within 30 days of any petition for reinstatement; and 6. Pay the actual costs of the disciplinary proceedings within 30 days of receipt of billing from the state bar. The disciplinary panel, after hearing testimony regarding this matter, unanimously approved the conditional guilty plea agreement and agreed-upon discipline. Having reviewed the record, we conclude that the plea agreement should be approved. See SCR 113(1). It is so ORDERED.
The agreed upon discipline provides that Clarkson be: 1. Suspended from the practice of law for two years; 2. Appointed a state bar approved mentor to supervise the winding up of his law practice and submit quarterly reports to bar counsel; and 3. Required to pay the actual costs of the disciplinary proceedings within 30 days of this order.2 The disciplinary panel, after hearing testimony regarding this matter, unanimously approved the conditional guilty plea agreement. Having reviewed the record, we conclude that the plea agreement should be approved. See SCR 113(1). Accordingly, attorney John R. Clarkson is hereby suspended from the practice of law for two years from the date of this order, and Clarkson shall comply with the conditions of the agreement as set forth above. It is so ORDERED.
In re: Anthony J. Blackwell Docket No.: 59331 Filed: March 26, 2013 ORDER OF TRANSFER TO DISABILITY INACTIVE STATUS
Attorney transferred to disability inactive status after being transferred to disability inactive status by the Arizona Supreme Court. Bar counsel for the state of Nevada has petitioned this court for an order transferring attorney Anthony J. Blackwell to disability inactive status in accordance with SCR 117. Blackwell was transferred to disability inactive status in Arizona by order of the Arizona Supreme Court and has not been reinstated there. Having reviewed the petition and attached exhibits, we conclude that Blackwell’s transfer to disability inactive status is appropriate. The determination by the Arizona Supreme Court constitutes a judicial declaration of Blackwell’s incompetence. See SCR 117(1). Accordingly, Anthony J. Blackwell is transferred to disability inactive status. Blackwell may resume the active practice of law only after he has complied with SCR 117(4) and (5). Pursuant to SCR 117(7), Blackwell shall comply with the provisions of SCR 115. The state bar shall effect notice of this order as required under SCR 121.1. Bar Counsel shall provide this court with proof that notice has been served. It is so ORDERED.
In re: John R. Clarkson Docket No.: 59733 Filed: February 22, 2013 ORDER OF APPROVING CONDITIONAL PLEA AGREEMENT AND SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW
Attorney suspended from the practice of law for two years after commingling client funds in his attorney client trust account. This matter involves an automatic review of the Northern Nevada Disciplinary Board hearing panel’s recommendation to approve attorney John R. Clarkson’s conditional guilty plea in exchange for a stated form of discipline pursuant to SCR 113. Under the plea agreement, Clarkson admits to violations of RPC 1.15 (safekeeping property), RPC 3.3 (candor toward the tribunal), and RPC 8.4 (misconduct). These violations stem from Clarkson’s misconduct involving the commingling of two different clients’ funds.
RESIGNATIONS (VOLUNTARY, NO DISCIPLINE PENDING)
S.C.R. 98(5)(a) states: Any member of the state bar who is not actively engaged in the practice of law in this state, upon written application on a form approved by the state bar, may resign from membership in the state bar if the member: 1. Has no discipline, fee dispute arbitration, or clients’ security fund matters pending; and
42 Nevada Lawyer May 2013
bar counsel report
May 2013 2. Is current on all membership fee payments and other financial commitments relating to the member’s practice of law in Nevada. Such resignation shall become effective when filed with the state bar, accepted by the Board of Governors, and approved by the Supreme Court. The following members resigned pursuant to this rule: Robert R. Edelman Bar No. 8438 Order 62708 Filed 3/25/13 Dale Gibb Bar No. 1857 Order 62707 Filed 3/25/13 Kirk S. Schumacher Bar No. 823 Order 62692 Filed 3/25/13 Paul C. Garcia Bar No. 6652 Order 62705 Filed 3/25/13 Carina Cilluffo Bar No. 11083 Order 62703 Filed 3/25/13 Based on the above, Attorney was REPRIMANDED for violating RPC 5.1 (Responsibilities of Supervisory Lawyers), RPC 5.3 (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), 5.4 (Professional Independence of a Lawyer), 7.3 (Communications With Prospective Clients), 8.1(a) (Bar Admissions and Disciplinary Matters) and 8.4 (Misconduct).
1. Patterson was temporarily suspended under SCR 111 on November 15, 2010. In re: Discipline of Patterson, Docket No. 56939 (Order of Temporary Suspension, November 15, 2010). 2. The appointment of a mentor was mutually agreed upon by Clarkson and bar counsel during the disciplinary hearing.
SOUTHERN NEVADA DISCIPLINARY BOARD
LETTERS OF REPRIMAND File No. SG11-0382
Letter of Reprimand appropriate when non-lawyer met with clients in a doctor’s office to sign initial retainer agreement and clients never met lawyer during representation. Client A and Client B (Clients) were in an injury accident. After the accident, Clients were solicited via telephone by a woman named “Anna,” who referred them to Doctor. When Clients arrived at Doctor’s office, they were met by Anna, who signed them up as Attorney’s clients. Clients then paid Anna a $400 retainer fee to retain Attorney. Afterward, Clients said they never met with Attorney, spoke to Attorney directly or received any correspondence from Attorney prior to filing a grievance with the State Bar of Nevada. As a result, Clients decided to retain other counsel to handle their matter. In Attorney’s initial response to the state bar regarding this grievance, Attorney denied that the “Anna” referred to in Clients’ grievance was an employee of Attorney and implied that she might be a current, or former, employee of the Doctor. Additionally, Attorney stated his office was contacted to meet with Clients at Doctor’s office because they had asked for counsel. Therefore, Attorney sent “a representative” of his office over to meet with them. During that meeting, Attorney said his representative only conducted the intake process and had Clients only sign medical releases and certain documents that set forth what happened in the accident, the parties were that were involved, etc. When the state bar asked specifically for the name of the representative who met with Clients at Doctor’s office, and who exactly signed up Clients, Attorney provided the name of a current employee who met with Clients at Doctor’s office, however, Attorney was the only lawyer working in the firm so he would have been the only attorney who would have “seen clients.” When the state bar asked for a definitive answer regarding who exactly “signed up” Clients, Attorney finally admitted that “Ana,” a non-attorney who worked for his office was the person who had gone over the firm’s documentation with Clients in the parking lot of Doctor’s office and had each client sign the Retainer Agreements.
DISCIPLINE KEY
Resignation with charges pending: SCR 98(5)(b) Types of possible discipline listed generally: SCR 102 Attorneys convicted of crimes: SCR 111 Conditional guilty plea agreements (discipline by consent): SCR 113 Reciprocal discipline: SCR 114 Disbarred/Suspended attorneys: SCR 115 Reinstatement: SCR 116 Disability Inactive: SCR 117 Supreme Court Rules (SCRs): www.leg.state.nv.us/CourtRules/SCR.html
DISBARMENT – License to practice revoked. SUSPENSION – License suspended for a time certain, ineligible to practice. More than six months requires petition for reinstatement and court order. DISABILITY INACTIVE – Ineligible to practice until further order of the court. In the interim, disciplinary proceedings held in abeyance. INTERIM TEMPORARY SUSPENSION – Interim suspension based on showing of a substantial threat of serious harm to the public, in effect until further court order, usually after hearing. RESIGNATION WITH CHARGES PENDING – Ineligible to practice. Requires Bar Counsel approval. Resignation is irrevocable, with readmission only possible upon application as a new admittee. PUBLIC REPRIMAND – Misconduct found and public censure issued, including attorney’s name and the underlying facts and charges. Published in Nevada Lawyer and made available to the press. Remains eligible to practice law. LETTER OF REPRIMAND – Lowest level of discipline. Not published, but disclosed upon request under the new rules. May also include up to a $1,000 fine and restitution. Remains eligible to practice. ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSION – Attorneys may be administratively suspended for failure to pay bar fees (SCR 98(12)), and/or for failure to complete and report the required Continuing Legal Education hours (SCR 212). While these are not disciplinary suspensions, the attorney is ineligible to practice law until the deficiency is remedied and the procedures to transfer back to active status completed as set forth in the applicable rules.
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