ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility (OLPR) published its July report, detailing the disciplinary actions against lawyers.
The report covers the period from July 2016 to June 2017, with 1,200 complaints of varying matters filed. The report indicates that 44 attorney were publicly sanctioned during this time period and 132 were privately sanctioned, which is significantly higher than most years.
Furthermore, the board indicated that amongst the punishments received by attorneys, 28 were suspended from practicing, and 115 private admonitions, which is when the OLPR decided that the punishable action was either non serious or of an isolated nature.
Fourteen attorneys were disbarred, many of whom were for disbarred for misappropriating funds. One attorney was disbarred for a serious assault conviction, while another was disbarred for unauthorized practice of law after license suspension.
The 2017 fiscal year was also the first time the organization recorded demographics on how long attorney’s had practiced law for when they were brought up in these cases. The average length of practice of most attorney’s being disciplined was 25 years.
While the number of attorneys disciplined in 2017 was unusually high, the number of complaints received was comparable to the amount received in 2015, which saw significantly more attorneys disciplined.
The report also indicated that the OLPR made a wide variety of organizational changes in order to better manage the caseloads. The organization set a goal of having an open caseload below 500 cases, with less than 100 of those having been open for more than a year. While at the end of 2016 the OLPR had 516 open files and 151 of those having been open for over a year, the organization was able to decrease this number to 115 by the end of June 2017. Furthermore, throughout the year, the total caseload did fall below 500 multiple times.