Justices disbar attorney

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The Indiana Supreme Court chose to disbar a Marion County attorney due to his pattern of neglect in clients’ cases.

In a per curiam opinion handed down today, In the Matter of William J. Rawls, No. 49S00-0908-DI-355, the justices found William J. Rawls violated numerous Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, including 1.3, failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness; and 8.4(b), committing a criminal act (forgery) that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer.

Rawls’ disbarment pertains to six instances involving separate clients. He often lied to clients, failed to return money, and failed to file appearances on behalf of his clients. In one case, Rawls forged his client’s signature on a purported refund receipt.

Rawls, who was admitted in 1985, has a history of discipline, including a prior suspension for misconduct in 2002. His other disciplinary actions involved CLE noncompliance, dues nonpayment, and noncooperation with the Disciplinary Commission.

“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,” the opinion states. “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. We therefore conclude that Respondent should be disbarred.”

His disbarment is effective Dec. 27.


  • Long time coming
    I knew this attorney from way back when he was teaching school in the Perry Twshp School systems in Indianapolis. I first used his services right after my father died in 1997 as he was a very good friend of my father's. I thought I could trust him. In the beginning, all was good, but after about 3 months, I would call to follow up on issues pertaining to my brother who was estranged from the family, Mr. Rawls did not bother to call back or have his staff call me back. For almost two years my father's situation was left in probate. I had to hire another attorney (my mom's attorney) to fix all of the errors and undoings while my mother was then dying of pancreatic cancer. By this time I was so furious with my deceased father for leaving no will and using an inept attorney (because he was my dad's attorney and friend) that I wanted to dig him up out of his grave and kill him myself for leaving me with this nightmare (LOL)...only to wind up lassoing my mom's attorney to fix Mr. Rawls' mess. If I had known then what I know now, I would have started proceedings about this back then. I didn't. I had a colicky new baby born 2 weeks after my father passed and it was just too much to handle. Also, because he was my dad's friend, I thought maybe he was going through some personal issues at the time. Now, I know....not only did he mess me up, his negligence messed up many others as well. I am indeed sorry for that.
  • better decision
    I think this is a good decision and a better use of the disciplinary commission's time than policing whether or not a lawyer can call someone sweet or not.
  • One down, many more to go
    Its about time, but why is he disbarred beginning Dec. 27th? In the mean time, I guess one lawyer to another, they are making sure he can reap all he can in the next 6 weeks. They are all alike. Best legal system money can buy. I guess that is why he stopped doing things for those clients, they must have had shallow pockets.

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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.