NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — Lafayette attorney Michael Sean Reid, disbarred late last year after abandoning his practice and for trust fund irregularities, now faces possible permanent disbarment following a recommendation issued July 26 by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board hearing committee.
In its nine-page recommendation, LADB Hearing Committee No. 6 also recommended Reid be ordered to pay restitution to his clients and to the state bar's client assistance fund "for unearned fees that were improperly converted to his personal use."
The facts in the latest allegations against Reid deserve permanent disbarment, particularly "that the aggravating factors are substantial with no factors in mitigation, the serious nature of the rule violations, the repeated misconduct engaged by [Reid] and [Reid]'s complete lack of respect for the authority of the Louisiana Supreme Court," the recommendation said.
The recommendation was signed July 26 by committee Chair Bradley Gadel and was issued the same day. Attorney member Zebulon Winstead and public member Amy Bruce concurred in the recommendation.
Reid was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 5, 2001, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. He was disbarred following a split Dec. 5 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding, with the justices debating whether the disbarment should have been permanent. The majority voted to disbar Reid retroactive to his interim suspension in December 2016.
Allegations against Reid in the hearing committee's more recent recommendation stem from separate complaints filed by seven former clients in a child custody matter, a child support matter, two divorces, a custody modification order, an intra-family adoption and a "family matter."
Reid is alleged to have violated professional conduct rules, including those regarding failure to return unearned fees, intentionally converting multiple clients' funds, and failing to cooperate in an official investigation.
Reid did not file an answer to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel's formal charges and in April the factual allegations were deemed admitted, according to the recommendation.