Atty. Gilbert Rucker III of Warren has been publicly reprimanded by the Ohio Supreme Court for violating several of Ohio’s Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys in his handling of a legal matter for a client.
After an investigation by the Trumbull County Bar Association, Rucker agreed to the facts as presented to the Supreme Court, according to an opinion the Supreme Court released recently.
In April, the bar association said Rucker, who has practiced law since 1986, committed professional misconduct.
Specifically, he neglected a matter for a client, failed to reasonably communicate with the client, failed to deposit the client’s funds in an interest-bearing client trust account and charged the client a fee designated as “nonrefundable” without advising the client in writing that the client may be entitled to a refund of all or part of the fee if Rucker didn’t complete the representation.
Attorneys are required to deposit legal fees and expenses paid in advance into a trust account, to be withdrawn by the lawyer only as fees are earned or expenses are incurred, according to the supreme court decision.
An attorney also is required to promptly deliver to a client any funds or property that the client is entitled to receive and, upon the client’s request, to promptly render a full accounting of such funds or property, the supreme court said.
Rucker has had no previous disciplinary record, had no dishonest or selfish motive, made a timely good-faith effort to make restitution, made a full and free disclosure and was cooperative in the investigation and has a “reputation of good character in the community,” the supreme court said.
“Based upon the facts of Rucker’s misconduct and the substantial mitigating factors, the parties [agree] that a public reprimand is the appropriate sanction for Rucker’s misconduct,” the ruling says.