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Supreme Court disbars Indianapolis attorney

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An Indianapolis lawyer who engaged in repeated and serious acts of attorney misconduct involving multiple clients has been disbarred.

In a five-page disciplinary order today In the Matter of Kimberly O. Powell, No. 49S00-0803-DI-127, the Indiana Supreme Court disbarred Kimberly O. Powell who had 16 misconduct counts lodged against her for conduct between 2003 to 2007.

The high court suspended her in March for not cooperating with the Disciplinary Commission's investigation, which involved the following misconduct charges: failing to take action in cases; failing to keep clients informed about the status of their cases; failing to respond to clients' requests for information; accepting a settlement without the client's approval; giving clients erroneous legal advice; failing to appear at hearings; missing deadlines; failing to properly handle, use, account for, and/or refund money paid to her by clients; charging unreasonable fees; failing to reduce contingent fee agreements to writing; misrepresenting the extent of her professional experience; and making false statements to the commission during its investigation.

In describing some of the misconduct, the court noted that Powell falsely told a client she had substantial experience with federal drug possession cases, charged him a $5,000 initial fee, refused to refund a $2,000 partial payment after being discharged, and attempted to charge an additional $3,100 despite having done no substantial work on the case.

Other examples cited by the court included an unemployment compensation matter and child support claims, and an Illinois murder case where she never appeared in court in that state and declined to refund a $10,000 "engagement fee" paid by the client's parents before she advised them their son should surrender to police without consulting the client.

In addition to the 16 counts of violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rules, she also violated the Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule regarding clients' funds by failing to keep them in a clearly identified trust account.

"In light of Respondent's multiple acts of serious professional misconduct, we conclude that Respondent must be given the strongest sanction possible," the court wrote, disbarring her immediately and ordering her name be stricken from the roll of attorneys.

According to the Supreme Court's roll of attorneys, Powell was admitted to practice in May 2003. She could not be reached at the phone number listed.

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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