MAGAZINE
California Lawyer

DISBARMENT

Baker A. Gregory, State Bar #194654, Ontario (February 24, 2014). Baker, 51, was disbarred for accepting advance fees in loan modification matters in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a), practicing law in jurisdictions where he is not licensed, and committing acts involving moral turpitude. He was found culpable for ten counts of misconduct involving 18 client matters.

Between June 2008 and April 2012 Baker represented homeowners in loan modification matters, collecting advance legal fees before completing these services. He agreed to represent clients from Wisconsin, Oregon, Ohio, Washington, and Maryland, even though he was not licensed to practice law in those jurisdictions.

In other client matters, Baker was found culpable of failing to competently perform legal services, failing to maintain client records, failing to communicate, failing to render appropriate accounts, failing to report sanctions, improperly withdrawing from employment, and entering into an agreement with a client providing that his misconduct not be reported to the State Bar.

In aggravation, Baker engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that demonstrated a pattern of misconduct, causing harm to his clients, the public, and the administration of justice. In mitigation, Baker had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1998. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

William A. Cooper, State Bar #30652, Sacramento (February 27, 2014). Cooper, 79, was disbarred for failing to maintain client funds in trust and committing acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption. In January 2011 Cooper was hired by a client to represent him in a bankruptcy matter. The two agreed that Cooper would be paid a contingency fee of 33.3 percent of any judgment or settlement.

In June 2011 the case settled, and Cooper deposited a check for $38,000 into his client trust account. Cooper was required to maintain two-thirds of that amount for his client, but he failed to do so. Cooper misappropriated at least $3,743 for his own benefit, and later misappropriated an additional $2,500.

In aggravation, Cooper showed indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct, forcing his client to file a small claims action against him. Also, he demonstrated a lack of candor and cooperation by trying to mislead the State Bar during its investigation. In mitigation, Cooper had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1960. He also cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 29, 2014

Jay C. Cox, State Bar #147858, Dallas, TX (February 27, 2014). Cox, 52, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. Cox was charged with failing to comply with conditions to four previous orders of discipline, including a suspension following convictions in four criminal matters warranting discipline but not involving moral turpitude. Cox failed to file a response to the notice of disciplinary charges. In July 2013 the State Bar filed the petition for disbarment. The order took effect March 29, 2014
Adam R. Fairbairn, State Bar #168204, San Miguel (February 26, 2014). Fairbairn, 48, was disbarred for practicing law while suspended from practice, failing to communicate, failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation, and committing acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In 2012 Fairbairn was the attorney of record for defendants in a lawsuit. In February of that year Fairbairn falsely informed the plaintiff’s counsel that he would be suspended from the practice of law for failing to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. However, Fairbairn had already been suspended for that reason. He told plaintiff’s counsel that he would provide him with the name of the defendants’ new attorney, but instead Fairbairn remained the attorney of record. He later hired a special-appearance attorney to represent the clients at hearings. Despite his suspension from practice, Fairbairn continued to participate in conferences, and held himself out as entitled to practice law when he was not. There were two other matters involving similar misconduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Fairbairn had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 28, 2014

Kelly E. Darwin Giles, State Bar #144113, Culver city (February 24, 2014). Giles, 50, was disbarred following his conviction of felonies involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In September 2012 Giles was convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 1546(a) (conspiracy to commit immigration fraud), and 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3) (witness tampering), both felonies involving moral turpitude. The convictions are now final, and the State Bar has determined that they meet the criteria for summary disbarment. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Mayra I. Laureano, State Bar #194702, Long Beach (February 27, 2014). Laureano, 48, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. She was charged with failing to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect March 29, 2014
Kamran Y. Malik, State Bar #247885, Anaheim (February 27, 2014). Malik, 35, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. He was charged with failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline and failing to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In aggravation, Malik had a record of prior discipline. The order took effect March 29, 2014

James J. Murray, State Bar #66952, Roswell, GA (February 11, 2014). Murray, 68, was disbarred for failing to maintain client funds in trust, misappropriating client funds, failing to render an accounting, failing to promptly return client funds, and failing to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In aggravation, Murray had a record of prior discipline. He engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his client, and his misconduct was surrounded by bad faith and dishonesty.

The order took effect March 13, 2014

Kenneth G. Reidenbach, II, State Bar #159887, Lancaster, PA (February 11, 2014). Reidenbach, 63, was disbarred for committing a felony involving moral turpitude.

In December 2011 a jury found Reidenbach guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. § 371 (conspiracy to conceal property and commit bankruptcy fraud), § 152(1) (aiding and abetting the concealment of property in bankruptcy), § 152(7) (aiding and abetting an agent in concealing property in bankruptcy), § 153 (aiding and abetting embezzlement against a bankruptcy estate), § 157 (bankruptcy fraud), and § 152(3) (making a false statement in bankruptcy).

The conviction is now final, and the State Bar has determined it met the criteria for summary disbarment. The order took effect March 13, 2014

Albert M. Sterwerf, State Bar #175454, Tustin (February 24, 2014). Sterwerf, 53, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. He was charged with failing to maintain client funds in a trust account, an act involving moral turpitude. The order took effect March 26, 2014
Stephen P. Wainer, State Bar #156197, Bakersfield (February 24, 2014). Wainer, 47, was disbarred for failing to competently perform legal services and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In October 2006 Wainer was assigned by his law firm to represent a client pursuing a disability claim. Wainer later left the firm and opened a new practice, and the client agreed to have him continue representing her. Eventually, Wainer lost the civil case, and his petition for review was denied. Wainer failed to file an appeal, but he told the client he had filed the necessary paperwork to pursue one. He later told her that the appeal was pending, even though he had not filed an appeal and knew his statement was false. Wainer later provided the client documents that purportedly were related to the appeal but were not. The client later learned that the appeal had not been filed, which Wainer later admitted to her.

In aggravation, Wainer had a record of prior discipline. He also committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his client. In mitigation, Wainer cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Craig T. Wormley, State Bar #182137, Beverly Hills (February 27, 2014). Wormley, 46, was disbarred for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline, accepting fees from a nonclient, engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, appearing without authority, failing to competently perform legal services, failing to communicate, improperly withdrawing from employment, failing to render appropriate accounts, failing to return client papers, failing to return unearned fees, failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation, and committing acts involving moral turpitude. There were seven client matters warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Wormley had a record of prior discipline. He also committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his clients. In mitigation, several witnesses attested to Wormley’s good character. The order took effect March 27, 2014

SUSPENSION

Patricia M. Boag, State Bar #174680, North Tustin (February 24, 2014). Boag, 53, was suspended for 90 days and placed on three years of probation for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In January 2013 Boag appeared on behalf of a client at a pretrial hearing in a criminal matter, even though she was under suspension pursuant to a previous disciplinary order. Boag did not inform the court of her suspension.

In aggravation, Boag had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, Boag presented evidence of her good character and cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Michael A. Brush, State Bar #46576, Los Angeles (February 24, 2014). Brush, 74, was suspended for 60 days and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In July 2012 the California Supreme Court publicly reproved Brush and ordered him to comply with certain conditions. However, Brush failed to contact the Office of Probation within 30 days of the reproval order, failed to attend meetings of an abstinence-based self-help group, failed to comply with conditions to his criminal probation in the underlying matter, failed to make restitution for property damage he had caused, and failed to timely submit three quarterly reports to the Office of Probation.

In aggravation, Brush committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Kimberly R. Burke, State Bar #248051, Upland (February 24, 2014). Burke, 35, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust, failing to competently perform legal services, failing to render appropriate accounts, and committing an act of moral turpitude.

In July 2011 Burke employed an office manager who became responsible for booking, bookkeeping, and billing clients. From December 2011 to February 2012 Burke failed to properly supervise the employee, whom she realized had been issuing fraudulent checks and making fraudulent debit charges using Burke’s accounts. Burke later opened a new client trust account and transferred funds from her accounts into it. In one workers compensation matter, Burke determined how much a client had been owed following deposit of a settlement check into the trust account, and she issued the client a check in that amount. However, Burke acknowledged that she had been careless in managing her office.

In aggravation, Burke committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, she expressed remorse for her misconduct and presented evidence of her good character. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Young S. Cho, State Bar #239773, Pacific Palisades (February 24, 2014). Cho, 35, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation following his conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude. In April 2012 Cho called the Los Angeles Police Department to report that he was the victim of an attempted robbery. As a result, the police arrested two individuals matching the description Cho provided. The suspects were subsequently charged with attempted robbery. Later, surveillance footage of the alleged incident surfaced, which showed no attempt by the alleged perpetrators to rob Cho. Consequently, the charges against them were dropped. When the incident took place, Cho was being treated for depression with a prescription amphetamine drug. The drug’s side effects included paranoia, which was exacerbated by alcohol. Cho had consumed alcohol with the drug on the night of the alleged attempted robbery, which increased the potential for side effects. In November 2012 the Los Angeles district attorney charged Cho with one count of felony perjury and making a false report of a crime, a misdemeanor. In February 2013 Cho entered a plea of no contest on the misdemeanor count; the other charge was dropped. Cho was sentenced to serve time in county jail, and the State Bar subsequently placed him on interim suspension. In mitigation, Cho cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014
Raymond F. Choi, State Bar #227132, Huntington Beach (February 24, 2014). Choi, 36, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, disobeying a court order, and failing to comply with agreements made with the State Bar in lieu of disciplinary action.

In May and June 2009 Choi failed to appear for pretrial hearings in his client’s criminal matter. He also did not inform the court, his client, or opposing counsel that he would not appear at the scheduled hearings. In 2010 the court required Choi to appear in another client’s criminal matter. When Choi failed to do so, the court issued a bench warrant against Choi for his failure to appear. The court subsequently sanctioned him $1,000 for his misconduct. Choi has not paid the full amount of the sanction.

In December 2011 Choi entered into an Agreement in Lieu of Discipline with the State Bar in connection with the two matters. He was required, among other things, to comply with the State Bar Act and the California Rules of Professional Conduct. However, while representing another client in a third criminal matter, Choi failed to appear at a pretrial conference and failed to appear at the client’s trial, delaying the matter.

In aggravation, Choi engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed the administration of justice and caused delay in his clients’ criminal matters. In mitigation, Choi had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2003. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Patrick B. Condon, State Bar #144012, Carlsbad (January 30, 2014). Condon, 65, was suspended for 90 days and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In April 2011 Condon entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar regarding conditions to his probation. However, Condon failed to timely file quarterly reports and failed to attend the State Bar’s Ethics School.

In aggravation, Condon had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, at the time of his misconduct Condon experienced serious medical problems that resulted in physical disabilities. The order took effect March 1, 2014

Mark D. Estes, State Bar #110518, San Diego (February 24, 2014). Estes, 58, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to avoid interests adverse to a client, making misrepresentations, issuing checks against insufficient funds, and failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

In 2006 Estes represented a client in litigation related to the client’s family trust. The matter settled, and the trust’s real estate was sold. The client received $575,000 from the proceeds and paid Estes a fee of $10,000. Estes then contacted the client, seeking a loan from the client of $50,000 at 10 percent interest. The client agreed to the deal, but he requested a legally binding paper or note. Estes prepared a note and a deed of trust, presented them to the client, and told him that nothing else was needed to secure the loan. Estes did not inform the client that there were already two liens on his property or that the deed needed to be recorded and notarized. Estes also did not inform the client that he should seek the advice of an independent lawyer before agreeing to the loan.

In 2008 Estes prepared a second deed of trust for the client in order to obtain an extension on the loan, but he did not record it. In 2010 Estes stopped making interest payments to the client and stopped making mortgage payments on his property. When the client tried to contact Estes regarding the loan, Estes did not respond. Eventually, the client filed a civil complaint against Estes and a disciplinary complaint with the State Bar. When the State Bar attempted to contact Estes, he did not respond.

In aggravation, Estes committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his client. He also demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Estes had no prior record of discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1983. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

David A. Harper, State Bar #112913, Maitland, FL (February 19, 2014). Harper, 60, was suspended for 90 days and placed on one year of probation following his suspension by the Supreme Court of Florida.

In 2006 Harper, who is licensed to practice in both Florida and California, became involved in a case involving his mother that was filed in Seminole County, Florida. In 2008 Harper had a dispute with opposing counsel, which escalated into a relentless campaign against several judges in the county.

From 2008 to April 2009 Harper filed at least ten pleadings to disqualify judges who were assigned to his mother’s case. His petitions were denied because his allegations had no factual basis. During the same period, he made several misrepresentations to the trial court and to the appellate court.

Ultimately, the Florida Supreme Court suspended Harper in 2011 for 90 days in connection with his misconduct. Because his misconduct in Florida also violated the laws of California, the State Bar recommended a 90-day suspension. However, the California Supreme Court concluded that Harper’s misconduct warranted more discipline. It found Harper culpable of failing to competently perform legal services, making statements without an objectively reasonable factual basis, failing to obey a court order, and making false statements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Harper committed multiple acts of wrongdoing and demonstrated a lack of insight and indifference about his misconduct. In mitigation, Harper had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1984. The order took effect March 21, 2014

Nathan V. Hoffman, State Bar #135155, Los Angeles (February 24, 2014). Hoffman, 53, was suspended for 30 days and was placed on two years of probation for willfully disobeying or violating court orders, improperly withdrawing from representation, and failing to report sanctions imposed against him.

In January 2012 Hoffman represented a defendant in a breach of contract case. The court conducted an initial status conference and then referred the case to mediation, which was to be completed by May 2012. However, Hoffman repeatedly failed to comply with the court’s orders by failing to cooperate with opposing counsel in completing mediation, failing to appear for a post-mediation status conference, and failing to appear for an order to show cause hearing on why he and his client should not be sanctioned for his previous acts. As a result, the court imposed a total of $3,000 in sanctions against him and his client, jointly and severally. Hoffman also withdrew from representation without filing a proper substitution of attorney or a motion to withdraw. Next, Hoffman failed to appear for another order to show cause hearing, resulting in the court striking the defendant’s answer and entering a default judgment against him. Neither Hoffman nor his client paid the sanctions. Additionally, Hoffman did not report the monetary sanctions ordered against him. He eventually paid the sanctions after having been informed that the court had reported him to the State Bar for an investigation.

In aggravation, Hoffman had a record of prior discipline. He also engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused his client significant harm. In mitigation, Hoffman cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Joshua S. Mayesh, State Bar #193282, Los Angeles (February 13, 2014). Mayesh, 43, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for failing to comply with MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In January 2012 Mayesh reported to the State Bar that he was exempt from the MCLE requirements because he was an employee of the state of California. However, Mayesh was actually employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is not a state entity. Although he had an honest belief that he was exempt from the MCLE requirements, his belief was unreasonable. He later took the necessary MCLE courses to come into compliance.

In mitigation, Mayesh cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 15, 2014

John C. Monohan, State Bar #141092, Lucerne Valley (February 13, 2014). Monohan, 68, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for failing to comply with MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In January 2012 Monohan reported to the State Bar that he was in compliance with his MCLE requirements when he was not. After being contacted by membership services regarding an audit of his compliance, Monohan took additional MCLE courses necessary to meet his requirements.

In mitigation, Monohan had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1989. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 15, 2014

Roger A. Moore, State Bar #146375, Stockton (February 27, 2014). Moore, 53, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to keep all agreements made in lieu of disciplinary prosecution, failing to cooperate with a disciplinary investigation, and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In May 2008 Moore was hired to prosecute a personal injury lawsuit on a client’s behalf. Moore did not immediately file the lawsuit, and he failed to file it before the statute of limitations had expired. Moore eventually dismissed the lawsuit after realizing it had no merit. The State Bar then initiated an investigation against him, based on a complaint from his client. During the investigation, Moore claimed he had legal malpractice insurance coverage, although he did not. He later entered into an Agreement in Lieu of Discipline, which required Moore to comply with certain conditions. He failed to meet the conditions by not informing his client that his legal malpractice insurance had lapsed. A State Bar investigator later sent Moore a letter of inquiry, but Moore did not respond to it.

In aggravation, Moore engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his client. In mitigation, Moore had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1990. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 29, 2014

Mark S. Mooschekian, State Bar #82423, San Clemente (February 11, 2014). Mooschekian, 59, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for falsely reporting to the State Bar that he had complied with his MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Mooschekian had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1978. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 13, 2014

Michael Parra, State Bar #216596, Santa Ana (February 13, 2014). Parra, 45, was suspended for six months and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to respond to reasonable status inquiries, disobeying a court order, failing to report an order of discipline, failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation, failing to render appropriate accounts, failing to release client papers, and failing to refund unearned fees. In March 2012 Parra was ordered in a federal civil matter to file both paper and electronic copies of claim-initiating documents. Parra failed to comply with the court order. In June 2012 he failed to appear at a hearing on an order to show cause as to why $500 in sanctions should not be imposed against him. The court ultimately increased the sanctions to $1,500. Parra never reported the sanctions to the State Bar and did not respond to letters sent by a State Bar investigator looking into a complaint about his conduct.

In a second matter, in November 2011 a client hired Parra to represent her interests as a plaintiff in a pending civil matter. The client paid Parra $2,500 in advance fees. Between November 2011 and April 2012 the client made weekly phone calls to Parra and left messages inquiring into the status of her case. Parra did not respond to the calls, but he spoke with the client in June 2012. In November 2012 Parra finally informed the client that he would take no further action in her case because his research established that her claim would fail. The client requested an accounting, the return of her file, and a refund of advance fees, but Parra did not comply.

In aggravation, Parra had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. In mitigation, Parra cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 15, 2014

Chad T. Pratt, State Bar #149746, Pasadena (February 11, 2014). Pratt, 50, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust, commingling funds, and failing to maintain a written ledger of client funds.

In aggravation, Pratt engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Pratt had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1990. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 13, 2014

Samuel J. Saltalamacchia, State Bar #94353, Tujunga (January 30, 2014). Saltalamacchia, 60, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a reproval action in 2008 and a probation action in 2011.

In aggravation, Saltalamacchia had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, Saltalamacchia cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. Also, during the period of misconduct Saltalamacchia suffered from clinical depression. The order took effect March 1, 2014

Joseph Sclafani, State Bar #134026, Beverly Hills (February 13, 2014). Sclafani, 54, was suspended for six months and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to obtain his client’s informed consent before accepting compensation from someone other than his client, failing to promptly respond to reasonable status inquiries, failing to render proper accounts, failing to return client funds, failing to refund unearned fees, failing to cooperate with a disciplinary matter, and failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In October 2011 Sclafani was retained by a husband and wife to file a civil complaint against their lender. The clients paid Sclafani $6,200 in advance legal fees and $410 for costs. After that initial meeting, Sclafani did not meet with the clients again, despite their repeated requests. Sclafani also failed to respond to their emails, phone calls, and inquiries regarding the status of their case.

In February 2012 the clients terminated Sclafani’s employment, demanded an accounting, and requested a refund. Sclafani never filed a complaint on their behalf. He also never refunded the fees and costs.

In a second matter, a client retained Sclafani to represent her adult son in a criminal matter. The client paid Sclafani $2,500 in advance fees and advised him of the next court appearance date. However, Sclafani failed to appear and failed to communicate with either the client or her son. In addition, he did not obtain the son’s informed consent before accepting compensation from his mother. He also did not refund any portion of the unearned fees. The client filed a complaint against Sclafani with the State Bar, but Sclafani did not cooperate with the State Bar’s investigators.

In 2012 Sclafani entered into a stipulation with the State Bar that required him to comply with certain conditions to a reproval action. He was required to timely submit quarterly reports, pay $1,500 in restitution with interest, attend and pass the State Bar’s Ethics School, and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. Sclafani made only one payment of $382, which was sufficient to satisfy accrued interest, and made no other attempt to pay restitution. He also failed to comply with the other conditions.

In aggravation, Sclafani had a record of prior discipline. He also committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. In mitigation, Sclafani cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 15, 2014

Roger W. Shpall, State Bar #47142, Beverly Hills (February 11, 2014). Shpall, 70, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to render appropriate accounts, failing to promptly disburse client funds, failing to respond to reasonable status inquiries, and failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation.

In aggravation, Shpall engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his client. In mitigation, Shpall had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1970. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 13, 2014

Jason A. Smith, State Bar #237584, Mission Viejo (February 13, 2014). Smith, 40, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for accepting advance fees in loan modification matters in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a), failing to respond to client inquiries, and failing to render appropriate accounts. He was charged with four counts of misconduct involving four client matters.

In aggravation, Smith committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused significant harm to his clients. Also, he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Smith had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2005. The order took effect March 15, 2014

Rosemary Stathakis-Cook, State Bar #104143, Sun City West, AZ (February 24, 2014). Stathakis-Cook, 56, was suspended for one year and placed on four years of probation following five alcohol-related driving convictions in Arizona, including felony aggravated assault, and a disciplinary decision by the Arizona Supreme Court issued largely as a result of those criminal convictions.

In aggravation, Stathakis-Cook had a record of prior discipline. Also, she committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed the other driver in one accident. In mitigation, Stathakis-Cook cooperated with the Arizona State Bar by entering into pleas of no contest in all five criminal matters against her. Also, at the time of her misconduct she was going through substance-abuse and emotional problems that she later took steps to address. The order took effect March 26, 2014

William F. Vogel, State Bar #119421, Van Nuys (February 27, 2014). Vogel, 58, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services and failing to keep a client reasonably informed of significant developments in the client’s case.

In January 2012 Vogel appeared in court on behalf of a client who had been involved in an automobile accident and was then cited by police. The court continued the client’s arraignment and plea, and Vogel received oral notice of the continued hearing. However, he did not inform the client of the continued hearing date. On that date, Vogel did not appear on the client’s behalf, and a bench warrant was issued for the client’s arrest. In July 2012 the client was arrested at his place of work for failing to appear. The client was released on bail and resolved the traffic matter on his own.

In aggravation, Vogel had a record of prior discipline. Also, his misconduct significantly harmed his client. In mitigation, Vogel cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 29, 2014

Dennis L. Wright, State Bar #60210, San Rafael (February 13, 2014). Wright, 68, was suspended for 120 days and placed on three years of probation for committing 14 counts of misconduct involving six client matters. Wright stipulated to repeatedly failing to competently perform legal services, failing to adequately communicate with clients, commingling funds, failing to promptly return his clients’ files, failing to promptly execute substitution of attorney forms and forward client files, failing to cooperate with the State Bar’s investigations, and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Wright committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that involved client trust funds. Also, his misconduct significantly harmed his clients or the administration of justice. In mitigation, Wright had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1974. The order took effect March 15, 2014

PROBATION

Javier B. Ramirez, State Bar #58075, Norwalk (February 24, 2014). Ramirez, 71, was placed on two years of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust and committing an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In 2007 Ramirez employed his daughter as an assistant at his solo practice, and he delegated most banking responsibilities to her. In January 2012 Ramirez suffered a heart attack and was restricted from work. He returned to work two months later and became embroiled in a series of homicide trials representing criminal defendants. Due to his heavy workload he became increasingly dependent on his daughter, and he eventually neglected his client trust account (CTA). Ramirez failed to review account statements or to perform monthly reconciliations.

During the same period, Ramirez’s daughter began withdrawing money from his accounts for her own personal use. By May 2012 she had overdrawn the firm’s operating accounts, and by July 2012 she had withdrawn at least $10,012 from the CTA. As a result, two checks that Ramirez had previously issued from the CTA were returned for insufficient funds, resulting in overdraft charges. Between August and October 2012 Ramirez’s daughter withdrew an additional $7,806 from the CTA.

Ramirez did not discover his daughter’s actions until June 2013, when the State Bar began its investigation. He immediately reimbursed the CTA, using his personal funds.

In mitigation, Ramirez had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1973. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation, and he took remedial measures to correct the problems surrounding his misconduct. The order took effect March 26, 2014

There are no recent disciplinary actions of this type.