A Carmel attorney who contracted with a Texas law firm but did not engage with the clients he represented as part of the contractual relationship has been suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for 30 days.
In 2015, Indiana attorney Bradley C. Crosley became “of counsel” for Eastman Meyler, P.C., a Texas law firm doing business as WipeRecord. As part of their relationship, Eastman Meyler would generate customer leads, enter into client representation agreements and provide customer service and client management services on expungement cases. For his part, Crosley would provide any legal services that required an Indiana law license.
“In sum, an Eastman Meyler attorney performed substantially all the work on cases,” Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote for the Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday. “Typically, Respondent had no communication with Eastman Meyler’s Indiana clients, either before or after those clients had entered into representation agreements with Eastman Meyler.”
Instead, Crosley’s role in Eastman Meyler’s business was to review and sign documents prepared and filed by the Texas law firm. In all, Crosley entered appearances on behalf of 57 Eastman Meyler Indiana clients, and no attorneys from the firm petitioned for temporary Indiana admission.
Because of his lack of involvement with the Eastman Meyler cases, Crosley was unaware when Leah Stein, an attorney for the firm who was not admitted in Indiana, indicated that she was the attorney of record in two Tippecanoe County expungement cases. After discovering Stein’s actions, apologizing to the trial court and communicating with Eastman Meyler to ensure a similar error did not occur again, Crosley terminated his affiliation with the Texas firm after resolving all pending client matters.
Crosley’s actions upon learning of Stein’s conduct were cited in mitigation in the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission’s complaint against him, as were the facts that he has no prior discipline and that all of his clients received their expungements. The parties agreed that Crosley violated three Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, including:
- Rule 1.4(a)(2), failing to reasonably consult with a client about the means by which the client’s objectives are to be accomplished;
- Rule 5.4(c), permitting a person who recommends, employs or pays the lawyer to render legal services for another to direct or regulate the lawyer’s professional judgment in rendering such legal services, and;
- Rule 5.5(a), assisting in the unauthorized practice of law.
All five justices agreed to impose the parties’ recommended discipline, a 30-day suspension beginning July 31. Crosley may not undertake any new cases until then, but he will be automatically reinstated at the end of the 30-day period, provided no other suspensions are in effect.
The costs of the proceedings in the case, In the Matter of: Bradley C. Crosley, Respondent, 29S00-1712-DI-717, are assessed against him.