Plaquemine attorney Ali Zito Shields has been reinstated to practice law in Louisiana following a Jan. 9 Louisiana Supreme Court decree after being suspended in 2015 over alleged misconduct stemming from divorce proceedings.
Sheilds' reinstatement was effective immediately and she was ordered to pay costs in the proceedings, according to the high court's two-page decree.
Shields was suspended a year and a day following a February 2015 state Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding over allegations she instructed a client to use Shields' name on divorce pleadings and failed to return a client file, provide an accounting and refund an unearned fee cooperate with an investigation.
Before she could submit a reinstatement application, Shields was required to refund former clients' legal fees, according to the February 2015 attorney disciplinary proceeding, which also ordered her to pay all costs and expenses in the matter.
Shields was admitted to the Louisiana bar Oct. 10, 1997, according to her profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. Shields had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to the high court's February 2015 disciplinary proceeding.
In May 2014, a Louisiana State Bar hearing committee recommended Shields be suspended for 18 months and that she be ordered to pay fees and restitution over allegations that she'd failed to return an unearned fee to a former client.
The following November, the state's attorney disciplinary board recommended the state Supreme Court suspend Shields for a year and one day after finding she had engaged in improper notarial practices. Shields allegedly had e-mailed divorce pleadings to her client with instructions for her client to sign the counsel-of-record line on the relevant form and to also sign the notary line before filing them with the clerk of court. The board also alleged Shields improperly retained unearned fees and failed to cooperate with the office of disciplinary counsel's investigation.
During a mitigation hearing, Shields said she'd e-mailed the divorce pleadings to her client for expedited filing because she said the husband's similar filings were impending, according to the high court's February 2015 attorney disciplinary proceeding.