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Legal Ethics

Partner Who Used $144K in Client Trust Money to Help Law Firm Weather the Recession Is Suspended

Posted Sep 14, 2011 3:17 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Finding that "substantial mitigating factors" weighed against disbarring a lawyer who made $144,000 in improper client trust account transfers to help her law firm weather the recession, the Minnesota Supreme Court today suspended attorney Jo Fairbairn for 18 months.

It also imposed an unusual requirement that she never again serve as an authorized signer on a client trust account, reports the Legal Profession Blog.

Among the factors weighing in Fairbairn's favor were that she repaid the money she transferred from Kinney & Lange's client trust account to its operating account before legal disciplinary authorities opened an investigation, the Minnesota Supreme Court explained in its opinion (PDF).

The transfers came to light because of a bank overdraft notice.

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