NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — Lafayette attorney Michael Sean Reid, disbarred in late 2018 after abandoning his practice and for trust fund irregularities, has been disbarred permanently following an Oct. 21 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding after additional allegations.
In its 12-page disciplinary proceeding, the state high court adopted a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board hearing committee recommendation issued in July to permanently disbar Reid after he allegedly converted unearned fees to his personal use. The court also ordered Reid to pay restitution to his former clients, in addition to all costs and expenses in the disciplinary proceeding, plus interest.
Reid never filed an answer to these latest formal charges against him and never filed written arguments about the latest sanction against him, according to the disciplinary proceeding. Neither Reid nor the office of disciplinary counsel filed an objection to the hearing committee's report and recommendation.
"In cases in which the lawyer does not answer the formal charges, the factual allegations of those charges are deemed admitted," the disciplinary proceeding said.
Reid was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 5, 2001, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
Reid was disbarred following a split Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding last December, with the court's justices then debating whether the disbarment should have been permanent. The majority voted to disbar Reid retroactive to his interim suspension in December 2016.
The latest allegations stem from complaints filed in seven client matters in which Reid accepted more than $27,000 in fees but, among other matters, andfailed to do any legal work or provide adequate legal advice, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
"The record in this matter supports a finding that respondent essentially abandoned his law practice, neglected legal matters, failed to communicate with clients, failed to refund unearned fees, and failed to cooperate with the office of disciplinary counsel in its investigations," the disciplinary proceeding said.
Baseline sanction for the alleged misconduct is disbarment, according to the disciplinary proceeding, which noticed aggravating factors that included "vulnerability of the victims" and "indifference to making restitution."
"The record does not indicate the presence of any mitigating factors," the proceeding said.