Metairie attorney Heather Munoz Murphy has been disbarred following a June 29 Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary proceeding over allegations of professional misconduct, including conversion of client funds.
Murphy also was alleged to have practiced without a license and failed to cooperate with the office of disciplinary counsel's investigation, according to the state high court's 15-page disciplinary proceedings. Allegations against Murphy stemmed from eight client matters, including a May 2014 case in which she appeared on behalf of a client while she was under interim suspension, according to the disciplinary proceedings.
In that case, Murphy said she had "only just received notice of her interim suspension, despite the fact she signed for the certified mail notice of the suspension on Feb. 5, 2014," the disciplinary proceedings said.
The hearing committee "determined that [Murphy]’s conduct caused actual, significant, and ongoing harm to her clients," the proceedings said. Neither Murphy nor the office of disciplinary counsel filed an objection to the hearing committee’s report, according to the disciplinary proceedings.
The office of disciplinary counsel recommended in August 2016 that Murphy be permanently disbarred.
Murphy was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Dec. 15, 2008, according to her profile at the Louisiana State Bar's website.
The state high court found Murphy to be in violation of professional conduct for allegedly neglecting legal rules, failing to communicate with clients, failing to refund unearned fees and attempting to solicit clients from other attorneys.
The Louisiana court also found Murphy engaged in dishonest conduct, made misrepresentations to the court, practiced law while ineligible to do so, practiced law after being placed on interim suspension and engaging in criminal conduct.
Murphy's alleged conduct demonstrated disregard for her clients and for her duties as an attorney, according to the disciplinary proceedings.
"In order to protect the public and maintain the high standards of the legal profession in this state, we find respondent’s license to practice law in this state must be revoked, and she must permanently forfeit any opportunity to return to the practice of law in the future," the proceedings said.
The court also ordered Murphy to make appropriate restitution to her former clients or to the Client Assistance Fund.