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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.
 

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  • 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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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