Lawyer conditionally reinstated years after taking bar funds

The Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday conditionally reinstated a former Marion County Bar Association treasurer who was suspended without automatic reinstatement six years ago after admitting to taking more than $9,100 from the organization.

In 2014, Trezanay M. Atkins was suspended from the practice of law in Indiana for at least two years without automatic reinstatement after she was found to have violated Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b), committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness; and 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

A hearing officer earlier this year recommended reinstatement for Atkins, who filed a petition to be readmitted to the Indiana bar in March 2019.

Justices in In the Matter of: Trezanay M. Atkins, 49S00-1306-DI-435 accepted the recommendation, ordering that Atkins “should be conditionally reinstated as a member of the Indiana bar and placed on probation for a period of three years, during which time Petitioner shall continue to receive counseling from either her current provider or another provider acceptable to the Commission.”

Additionally, as prerequisites to entering solo practice, the order states that Atkins shall do all of the following:

  • Schedule an intake meeting with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP), and any subsequent meetings determined by JLAP to be appropriate, to address the transition to private practice, any barriers to success as a solo practitioner, and any signs of stress that Petitioner may be undergoing;
  • Seek a mentor to review and assist in setting up a trust account ledger and ensuring compliance with all rules governing attorney trust accounts;
  • Provide to her mentor a detailed budget plan indicating her financial ability to begin and sustain her solo practice;
  • Acquiesce to random audits of her solo practice financial records by the Commission, including but not limited to her attorney trust account.

Upon expiration of the probationary period, Petitioner may submit a petition for release from probation provided she has fully complied with the terms of her probation,” Rush wrote for the unanimous court. “It is therefore ordered that the petition for reinstatement is hereby granted and that Petitioner is conditionally reinstated as a member of the bar of this State subject to the terms of probation stated above.”

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