Colorado lawyer reciprocally disbarred in Louisiana after role in client funds conversions

By Karen Kidd | Feb 19, 2019

NEW ORLEANS — Colorado Springs attorney Philip Martin Kleinsmith has been reciprocally disbarred following a Feb. 18 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding after a similar discipline in the other state for alleged conversion of client funds.

"Under these circumstances, it is appropriate to defer to the Colorado judgment imposing discipline upon respondent," the Louisiana Supreme Court said in its three-page disciplinary proceeding. "Accordingly, we will impose the same discipline against respondent as was imposed in Colorado and order that he be disbarred."

Kleinsmith's disbarment in Louisiana follows a December 2016 Colorado Supreme Court decision over his representation of a bank in 74 real estate foreclosure actions between 2012 and 2014.

"[Kleinsmith] hired a title company to provide services for these foreclosure cases," the Louisiana disciplinary proceeding said. "The title company charged [Kleinsmith] approximately $55,000. In turn, respondent billed the bank for the title services."

However, Kleinsmith didn't remit funds he received from the bank to the title company, according to the disciplinary proceeding.

Instead, "he used the funds to pay other expenses of his law firm," the disciplinary proceeding said.

Kleinsmith did not oppose the office of disciplinary counsel's motion for reciprocal discipline in Louisiana.

"In the instant case, [Kleinsmith] has made no showing of infirmities in the Colorado proceeding, nor do we discern any from our review of the record," the disciplinary proceeding said. "Furthermore, we feel there is no reason to deviate from the sanction imposed in Colorado as only under extraordinary circumstances should there be a significant variance from the sanction imposed by the other jurisdiction."

Kleinsmith was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on May 4, 2001, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. Kleinsmith has been inactive in Louisiana since November 2014, according to his state bar profile.

In a previous and unrelated reciprocal discipline, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Kleinsmith in March 2013 following a similar discipline handed down against him by supreme courts in Utah and Arizona. In those disciplines, Kleinsmith stipulated to failures to keep his client adequately informed, explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions and adequately protect the client's interests. Kleinsmith also stipulated to having charged an unreasonable fee.

Want to get notified whenever we write about any of these organizations ?

Sign-up Next time we write about any of these organizations, we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

Organizations in this Story

Colorado Supreme Court Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court Utah Supreme Court

More News

The Record Network