State Supreme Court places Mandeville attorney on interim suspension for 'threat or harm'

By Karen Kidd | Mar 21, 2019

NEW ORLEANS — Mandeville attorney Christine Y. Voelkel has been indefinitely suspended following a March 8 Louisiana Supreme Court order for "threat of harm."

The Supreme Court's single-page order placing Voelkel on interim suspension until further court order was effective immediately.

The office of disciplinary counsel "may" appoint a trustee to protect the interests of Voelkel's clients "if appropriate," the order said.

The order did not give a reason for the indefinite suspension and did not refer to two separate recommendations for partially and fully deferred suspensions issued by Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board hearing committees over the past two years.

Voelkel was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 15, 2004, according to her profile at the state bar's website.

In May 2018, LADB hearing committee No. 62 recommended Voelkel receive a partially deferred one-year suspension over multiple counts of professional conduct rules violations. The hearing committee recommended all but 60 days of the suspension be conditionally deferred.

In that recommendation, Voelkel was alleged to have filed several pleadings when she was ineligible to practice law and to have jeopardized the legal cause of a client. An overdraft notice also was reported on her client trust account in June 2016, according to the recommendation.

"Here, [Voelkel] negligently violated duties owed to the legal profession," the hearing committee's recommendation said. "There is no evidence that [Voelkel]'s misconduct caused actual harm to clients, however the misconduct in question, particularly the filing of pleadings while ineligible, could foreseeably cause potential harm."

In January 2017, LADB hearing committee No. 15 recommended Voelkel receive a fully deferred one-year suspension and be placed on two years probation for an overdraft reported on her trust account. Voelkel also allegedly failed to respond to the office of disciplinary counsel when it asked for an explanation about the overdraft, according to hearing committee No. 15's recommendation.

Hearing committee No. 15 found that Voelkel "made an error that could have and should have been avoided," the recommendation said. "In the absence of harm to another, education and monitoring is mostly likely to defer future conduct and protect the public."

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Organizations in this Story

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court

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