Sep. 15. The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas this morning filed an original petition with the Harris County District Clerk seeking the immediate interim suspension of local personal injury attorney Grace Diane Kopacz. The case was assigned to the 334th District Court, the Honorable Sharon McCally presiding.
The Petition alleges that "Respondent has engaged in conduct that includes all the elements of money laundering and insurance fraud, which are both serious crimes" and concludes that "Respondent poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to clients and prospective clients by reason of this conduct and, therefore, must be suspended from practicing law pending a final disposition of the disposition of the disciplinary proceeding." A hearing is to be set within 10 days.
The specific factual allegations, which also form the basis for criminal indictment, according to news reports earlier this year (see Lawyer and husband charged with money laundering), can be found in Part II of the petition. See copy of Original Petition for Immediate Interim Suspension in Cause No. 2009-59239; Commission for Lawyer Discipline vs Grace Diane Kopacz.
State Bar records indicate that Kopacz was licensed in 2004 and has her own law firm (LAW OFFICE OF GRACE D. KOPACZ) with primary practice area in personal injury law, located on West Loop South in Houston. See SBOT Member Profile of Grace Diane Kopacz
In unrelated disbarment news, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals last week issued an informative opinion which provides a cautionary tale of the dire consequences of a lesser but nonetheless serious form of prohibited conduct - the commingling of client trust funds with other monies, and the use of IOLTA accounts for payroll, business and other expenses.
Neely v. Commission for Lawyer Discipline (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist] Sep. 10, 2009) (Frost) (affirming attorney's disbarment for commingling of funds, use of IOLTA trust account for personal and business expenses) (admission of bank records issue, improper subpoena)
JUDGMENT OF DISBARMENT AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Frost
14-08-00526-CV George R. Neely v. Commission for Lawyer Discipline
Appeal from 164th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Jack Hollis Robison
TAGS: Attorney disciplinary proceedings | lawyer disbarment and reinstatement