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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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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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