NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — New Orleans attorney and former public defender Trisha Ann Ward has been conditionally readmitted to practice law in Louisiana following a July 3 Louisiana Supreme Court decision and more than four years after her arrest in an alleged stalking incident.
"After considering the record in its entirety, we find petitioner has met her burden of proving that she is entitled to be reinstated to the practice of law on a conditional basis," the high court said in its three-page decision. "Accordingly, we will order that petitioner be reinstated to the practice of law, subject to a five-year period of probation governed by all of the conditions recommended by the hearing committee."
The court's decision was effective immediately. Ward also was ordered to pay all costs in the matter.
Ward has been on interim suspension since December 2016, following her guilty plea to stalking a male co-worker's wife, with whom she'd had a romantic relationship. Her suspension was made official last September.
Ward was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 14, 2008, according to her profile at the Louisiana State Bar's website. Ward had no other discipline before the state bar prior to her suspension.
Ward's interim suspension followed her guilty plea to misdemeanor stalking and violating a protective order. "On Dec. 28, 2013, [Ward] intentionally entered the home of S.S. and his wife, J.H., without authorization," the state Supreme Court said in its most recent decision.
"During her sworn statement to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, [Ward] acknowledged that she did not have express permission to enter the residence. [Ward] was arrested and charged with unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, a felony. This charge was dropped as part of a plea bargain. On Oct. 30, 2015, the petitioner pleaded guilty to stalking and to violation of a protective order, both misdemeanors."
Ward applied for reinstatement in January, and in early June a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board hearing committee recommended Ward be conditionally readmitted to practice law in Louisiana for at least five years. The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board later concurred with much of the hearing committee's recommendation but itself recommended that Ward be suspended a year and a day, retroactive to the date of Ward's interim suspension more than a year ago.