In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against Placide

FI L~E This opinion was hied for record IN CLERKS OFFICE •UPRBE COURT. STATE OF WASM!7IGT0N 1? tfrr,?_on (2.r?y.r / // cmEFJuanca 6i^ L CARLSON SUPREME COURT CLERK IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON In the Matter ofthe Disciplinary No. 201,639-1 Proceeding Against CARLLENE M.PLACIDE, En Banc an Attorney at Law. Filed APR 1 2 2018 JOHNSON,J.—Attorney Carllene M. Placide appeals the unanimous recommendation of the Washington State Bar Association Disciplinary Board (Board)that she be disbarred from the practice oflaw. The misconduct charged includes misappropriation, repeated lying, failure to deposit flat fees received from clients into a trust account, failure to deliver property to which a third party was entitled, and charging an unreasonable fee. We uphold the Board's unanimous recommendation and disbar Placide. Facts and Procedural History Placide was admitted to the practice of law in 1999. In November 2006, Placide joined the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP as a "non-equity" partner In re Discipline ofPlacide (Carllene M.), No. 201,639-1 with base yearly compensation of $225,000. Decision Papers(DP)at 51 (Hr'g Officer's Am. Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law,& Recommendation (AFFCLR)). Placide's practice emphasized labor and employment law and immigration law. Dorsey had a firm policy stating that all compensation received by Dorsey partners, associates, or other attorneys was property ofthe firm. That policy states, in relevant part: Checks for legal services should be made payable to the Firm, and in any instance in which a check for legal or any other services representing compensation which is the property ofthe Firm is made payable to an individual payee, it should be endorsed immediately by the individual payee to the order ofthe Firm and delivered to the Finance Department with the Check for Deposit form. Similarly, any cash or other property representing any such compensation should be delivered immediately to the Finance Department with the appropriate identification. Office of Disciplinary Counsel's(GDC)Ex. A-109, at 20, Placide knew ofthese policies and agreed to comply with them by signing the offer of employment letter. For several years prior to 2011 and while a partner at Dorsey, she represented individual immigration clients who hired her personally (outside clients) and who paid her directly. She failed to disclose the existence ofthese clients to Dorsey. Placide attempted to conduct conflict checks, but those attempts were "wholly inadequate." DP at 53(AFFCLR). She retained the funds she received as compensation from her outside clients instead of turning them over to Dorsey. She represented outside clients on a flat fee basis, with fees and expenses paid in In re Discipline ofPlacide (Carllene M.), No. 201,639-1 advance, Placide's engagement letters or agreements with outside clients failed to include the language required by RPC 1.5(f)(2) in order to designate such fees as the lawyer's property on receipt. She failed to deposit funds she received from outside clients in a trust account as required by RPC 1.5(f) and RPC 1.15A(c)(2); she did not have an interest on lawyer's trust account and either retained or deposited into a personal ...

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