Johnson County lawyer suspended over trust account mismanagement

A 45-year attorney in Johnson County will be suspended briefly and then subject to a probationary period for improper oversight and management of his small firm’s trust accounts, the Indiana Supreme Court has ordered.

Justices issued a 30-day active suspension followed by 150 days of probationary accounting monitoring for John P. Wilson of Wilson & Wilson in Whiteland.

The discipline was handed down in an order issued Monday afternoon approving a statement of circumstances and conditional agreed discipline. According to the order, Wilson’s “mismanagement included among other things multiple overdrafts, commingling of client and attorney funds, and inadequate recordkeeping. Much of this misconduct stemmed from Respondent’s failure to adequately supervise his daughter, a nonlawyer who was employed in various roles at Respondent’s firm and who was a signatory on Respondent’s trust account.”

Wilson did not initially comply with an Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission subpoena, but he did so after the initiation of a show cause proceeding, the order says. The agreed discipline statement acknowledges Wilson violated various Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct and Admission and Discipline Rules by:

  • Commingling client and attorney funds.
  • Failing to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the lawyer’s firm has taken measures to assure that a nonlawyer employee’s conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer.
  • Failing to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the conduct of a nonlawyer employee over whom the lawyer has direct supervisory authority is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer.
  • Failing to take reasonable remedial action with respect to the misconduct of nonlawyer assistants under the lawyer’s supervision.
  • Failure to respond timely to the commission’s demands for information.
  • Failing to create or retain sufficiently detailed records of the attorney’s trust account.
  • Making withdrawals from a trust account without written withdrawal authorization stating the amount and purpose of the withdrawal and the payee.
  • Paying personal or business expenses directly from a trust account.
  • Delegating sole authority to disburse trust account funds to a nonlawyer assistant without appropriate safeguards.
  • Delegating authority to disburse trust account funds to a nonlawyer assistant without appropriate safeguards.

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