Oregon State Bar Bulletin AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013
Note: More than 14,000 persons are eligible to practice law in Oregon. Some of them share the same name or similar names. All discipline reports should be read carefully for names, addresses and bar numbers.
PAUL D. HANDY
Form B resignation
On May 16, 2013, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the Form B resignation of Paul D. Handy of Bend.
At the time of his resignation, the bar was investigating Handy’s conduct with respect to a former client who entrusted $50,000 to him several years before the client died. Handy acknowledged that he incrementally withdrew the $50,000 from his trust account without an accounting or statement of services, and that when the personal representative of the deceased client’s estate asked about the funds, Handy falsely reported that the funds remained in his trust account. This conduct implicates violations of RPC 1.15-1 (failing to maintain advance fees in trust until earned) and RPC 8.4(a)(3) (conversion of client funds and misrepresentation to the personal representative). In addition, Handy faced five felony counts of first degree forgery arising from his unauthorized use of a notarial seal and forgery of a notary’s signature on multiple documents prepared, executed and filed with the court. Handy acknowledged that this conduct may have violated the following: RPC 3.3(a)(3) (knowingly offering false evidence); RPC 3.3(a)(5) (knowingly engaging in illegal conduct); RPC 8.4(a)(2) (committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer); and RPC 8.4(a)(3) (dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation).
NANCY MARIA BRADY
Form B resignation
By order dated June 20, 2013, the Oregon Supreme Court accepted the Form B resignation of Nancy Maria Brady of Albany.
At the time Brady submitted her resignation, the bar was investigating a complaint by a domestic relations client who alleged that Brady failed to keep him informed of developments in his case, failed to respond to his requests for information and failed to appear at hearings on his behalf. Brady acknowledged that these allegations implicated violations of RPC 1.1 (failure to provide competent representation), RPC 1.3 (neglect) and RPC 1.4(a) and (b) (failure to maintain reasonable communication with a client). In addition, Brady acknowledged that she knowingly failed to respond in substance to the bar’s inquiries relating to the complaint, which raised a possible violation of RPC 8.1(a)(2).
WILLIAM L. GHIORSO
On July 2, 2013, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation reprimanding Salem lawyer William L. Ghiorso for violating RPC 1.8(a) (business transaction with a client) and RPC 1.8(e) (advance financial assistance to a client).
Ghiorso represented a client in a claim for personal injuries. Shortly thereafter, Ghiorso and the client jointly borrowed funds from a third person. In connection with that loan, Ghiorso failed to fully disclose to his client the terms of the loan in writing, failed to advise his client in writing of the desirability of seeking the advice of independent legal counsel or give him a reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of independent legal counsel, and did not obtain written informed consent from his client to the essential terms of the loan and Ghiorso’s role in the transaction.
A few weeks later, Ghiorso entered into an agreement with the third person to remove the client as a borrower on the loan. At that same time, Ghiorso agreed to lend to his client the funds Ghiorso had borrowed from the third person. In connection with that loan, Ghiorso failed to obtain written informed consent from his client to the essential terms of the loan and Ghiorso’s role in the transaction.
JON C. REALI
Effective July 16, 2013, the disciplinary board suspended Oregon licensed attorney Jon C. Reali for a violation of RPC 8.1(a)(2) (failure to respond in connection with a disciplinary matter).
The trial panel found that in January 2012, the bar received a complaint regarding Reali’s conduct and that disciplinary counsel’s office requested that he respond to the complaint. Thereafter, Reali knowingly failed to respond to repeated requests for information.
EDGAR J. STEELE
Effective July 16, 2013, the disciplinary board disbarred Oregon licensed attorney Edgar J. Steele for violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct in connection with his May 5, 2011, conviction in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho for a variety of felonies arising out of a murder for hire plot in which Steele attempted to hire a third person to kill his wife and mother-in-law.
The trial panel found that Steele committed criminal acts that reflect adversely on his fitness as a lawyer and his duty to the public by failing to maintain his personal integrity in violation of ORS 9.527(2) and RPC 8.4(a)(2).