Legal Ethics

Lawyer who didn't share client payments with his partners is disbarred

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Reversing an earlier decision to suspend a prominent Muskegon, Michigan, criminal defense attorney for two years for misappropriating client payments that should have been shared with his law partners, the state’s Attorney Disciplinary Board has revoked his license to practice.

That means Shawn P .Davis will have to wait at least five years to reapply for admission, MLive.com reports.

In the earlier decision, a three-member panel of the board opted for lesser punishment because of testimonials by friends that Davis was a good lawyer who had served his community well.

The full board, ruling Oct. 14, did not agree.

“When a competent lawyer who is well-known and perhaps even well-liked, and who may lead an otherwise mostly respectable life, makes the decision to steal when it looks like he can get away with it, this may only prove that people are complicated and that some have the ability to compartmentalize,” said the board in its written opinion (PDF).”It does not constitute compelling mitigation.”

Davis could not be reached for comment, the newspaper said, and he did not immediately respond to a message left Friday afternoon at his former law firm by the ABA Journal.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Attorney faces ethics hearing over misappropriation from his law firm”

MLive.com: “Muskegon attorney Shawn P. Davis’ law license suspended”

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