Oregon State Bar Bulletin JUNE 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.
PHILIP K. KLEINSMITH
Colorado Springs, Colo.
On April 11, 2013, the Oregon Supreme Court suspended Colorado lawyer Philip D. Kleinsmith for 90 days in a reciprocal discipline matter. The sanction imposed by the court was greater than the public reprimands ordered by the Arizona Supreme Court in March 2012, the Washington Supreme Court in October 2012 and the Utah Supreme Court in October 2012.
Kleinsmith represented creditors in several states. In nine cases filed in Arizona, he certified to the court that each case was eligible for court-ordered arbitration when it was not. Two of these cases were dismissed by the court after Kleinsmith failed to serve the defendants. In a Florida foreclosure matter, Kleinsmith failed to name a necessary defendant and incorrectly described the property both in the notice of sale and certificate of title. In a Wisconsin case, Kleinsmith failed to appear for two hearings. The case was dismissed with prejudice, with the court ordering Kleinsmith’s client to pay the opposing party’s costs. Kleinsmith then billed the client for the corrective motion he subsequently filed. Finally, in a Texas case, Kleinsmith moved to withdraw from litigation without first notifying his client of his intent to do so.
In Arizona, Kliensmith stipulated that he violated several disciplinary rules (the Oregon equivalents of which are cited below) and agreed to a public reprimand. Kleinsmith agreed that he had violated the following: RPC 1.1 (lack of competence); RPC 1.3 (neglect of a legal matter); RPC 1.4 (a) (failure to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter); RPC 1.5 (a) (charging or collecting a clearly excessive fee); RPC 1.16(d) (failure upon withdrawal from employment to take reasonable steps to protect a client’s interests); and RPC 8.4(a)(4) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). Unlike the other state jurisdictions, the Oregon Supreme Court found that Kleinsmith had not neglected any single legal matter entrusted to him, but the court agreed that he had violated RPC 1.1, RPC 1.4(a), RPC 1.5(a), RPC 1.16(d) and RPC 8.4(a)(4). Pursuant to the Oregon Supreme Court reciprocal discipline order, Kleinsmith’s suspension begins June 10, 2013.
WILLIAM E. PIERSON
By order dated March 28, 2013, the Oregon Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Seattle attorney William E. Pierson, Jr., in a reciprocal discipline matter that arose after Pierson stipulated to discipline by the Washington State Bar Disciplinary Board.
During a two-year period, Pierson left portions of his earned fees in his trust account after he was entitled to take them, thereby commingling his funds with those of his clients. His disbursements of client funds were occasionally incomplete or untimely and he failed to reconcile his trust account records with his bank statements. On one matter, he wrote a trust account check for a client for whom he did not hold sufficient funds in trust; as a result, the funds of other clients were disbursed to cover that check. In reciprocal discipline matters, the court analyzes the attorney’s conduct under Oregon’s rules and statutes. The bar submitted that Pierson’s conduct violated the following: RPC 1.15-1(a) (failing to maintain client funds separate from attorney’s own property); RPC 1.15-1(c) (withdrawing funds before fees have been earned or expenses incurred); RPC 1.15-1(d) (failing to promptly deliver funds a client or third party is entitled to receive); and RPC 1.15-1(e) (failing to promptly distribute undisputed funds).
The following have applied for admission under the reciprocity, house counsel or law teacher rules. The Board of Bar Examiners requests that members examine this list and bring to the board’s attention in a signed letter any information that might influence the board in considering the moral character of any applicant for admission. Send correspondence to Admissions Director, Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners, P.O. Box 231935, Tigard, OR 97281.
Reciprocity: Brendan Winslow-Nason; Laurence Ronald Wagner; Erica Taylor Loftis; John Andrew Solseng; Tracey Taylor O’Brien; Laura Elizabeth Karassik; Michelle Elizabeth DeLappe; Thomas F. Olsen; Alan David Schuchman; Jeffrey Paul Kapp; Hermine Serena Hayes-Klein; Samuel Swain Heywood; and Kent Llewlyn Fillmore.
Notice of Reinstatement Application
Notices of reinstatement applications are no longer published in the Bulletin.
Please go to www.osbar.org/reinstatements to view a list of pending applications.