Legal Ethics

Attorney faces ethics hearing over misappropriation from his law firm

A Michigan criminal defense and matrimonial attorney is awaiting the results of a legal ethics hearing last week after admittedly misappropriating funds from the firm in which he was formerly a partner.

Shawn P. Davis admitted to his then-partners at Nolan & Nolan & Shafer that he “intentionally misappropriated funds due to the firm” between 2007 and 2011, using at least three different methods, an Attorney Grievance Commission complaint says. They were: Having clients write checks payable to Davis personally; taking cash payments from clients and withholding some of the money; and pocketing cash from individuals who had not yet been criminally charged, in exchange for providing advice, without opening a file at that time, the Muskegon Chronicle reports.

Davis declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper. He admitted taking only a little over $14,000 from the firm, but has paid over $50,000 to settle all claims with the Nolan firm and exit the partnership, the article states.

Before joining the firm in 1999, he worked for another Muskegon firm and for the Muskegon County prosecutor’s office. He became a partner at Nolan & Nolan & Shafer in 2002 and served as president of the Muskegon County Bar Association between 2003 and 2004.

“I believe he should be disbarred, and I believe he will be disbarred, which means that he can reapply in five years,” managing partner Patrick J. Nolan told the newspaper Thursday.

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