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Disciplinary Actions - 11/24/10

November 24, 2010
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Indiana Lawyer Disciplinary Actions

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission brings charges against attorneys who have violated the state’s rules for admission to the bar and Rules of Professional Conduct. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications brings charges against judges, judicial officers, or judicial candidates for misconduct. Details of attorneys’ and judges’ actions for which they are being disciplined by the Supreme Court will be included unless they are not a matter of public record under the court’s rules.

Disbarment
William J. Rawls of Marion County has been disbarred from the practice of law in the state of Indiana effective Dec. 27, 2010. The Indiana Supreme Court found that Rawls engaged in a pattern of serious violations of the Indiana Professional Conduct Rules. His history of discipline, including a prior suspension for misconduct, was a substantial fact in aggravation.

Other prior discipline included suspensions for CLE noncompliance, dues nonpayment, and noncooperation with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission (which were dismissed after compliance).

In the Per Curiam order filed Nov. 12, 2010, the court stated, “Respondent has demonstrated a pattern of neglect of his clients’ cases, resulting in adverse dispositions, suspension of one client’s driver’s license, a missed opportunity to settle, and undue delay. Respondent made a series of intentional misrepresentations to the Commission during its investigations of grievances. Respondent created a fraudulent receipt, criminally forged a client’s name on it, and submitted it to the Commission, acting as an agency of this Court, with the intent of deceiving the Commission.”

The order states that the hearing officer recommended that the discipline “imposed should be severe, in accordance with [Respondent’s] dereliction of his duties.” The commission filed a brief on sanction arguing that Rawls misconduct, coupled with his prior suspensions, warranted disbarment. In its order of disbarment, the court acknowledged the severity of this sanction, stating that it is reserved for the most serious misconduct.

Suspension
Andrew E. Clark of Marion County has been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana effective immediately. In an order filed Nov. 3, 2010, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended Clark for noncooperation with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. Pursuant to Admission and Discipline Rule 23(10)(f)(3), the suspension will continue until: (1) the Disciplinary Commission certifies that Clark has cooperated fully with the investigation; the investigation or any disciplinary proceedings arising from the investigation are disposed of; or until further order of the court.

Resignation
Mark A. Ryan of Howard County has resigned from the Indiana bar effective immediately. In an order issued Nov. 12, 2010, the Indiana Supreme Court accepted Ryan’s resignation and dismissed any attorney disciplinary proceedings pending against him.

Clark is ineligible for petition for reinstatement to the practice of law in Indiana for five years. Approval of a petition for reinstatement is discretionary and requires clear and convincing evidence of his remorse, rehabilitation, and fitness to practice law.•

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