The Ohio Supreme Court has unanimously and indefinitely suspended two Youngstown attorneys from Ohio law practice.
In separate disciplinary actions announced Wednesday, the state’s top court suspended Warren “Bo” Pritchard for multiple professional code violations concerning 20 clients between 2006 and 2009, and it suspended Brian P. Kish for professional misconduct concerning 12 clients.
Pritchard’s law license had been under interim suspension since November 2009, when the top court said it received information documenting a pattern of neglect in his handling of his clients’ legal matters.
The top court adopted findings of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline that, in most of the cases at issue, Pritchard collected fee advances from clients, neglected to complete the legal work for which he was retained, failed to respond to communications from the clients and refused to refund their retainer fees.
“Pritchard acted with a selfish motive, engaged in a pattern of misconduct involving multiple rule violations over an extended time period, caused harm to vulnerable clients and failed to make restitution,” the top court said.
If Pritchard’s license is to be restored, the top court said he must make restitution of unearned legal fees to his clients, get a mental- health professional to certify his competence to return to ethical law practice, fulfill state continuing legal-education requirements, complete a comprehensive law-office management course and undergo a two-year supervised probationary period.
In additional to his having been a lawyer, Pritchard is a former Austin township trustee.
In the Kish matter, the top court adopted disciplinary board findings that, in 10 cases, Kish accepted fee advances and agreed to perform legal work for clients, but failed to file necessary documents or appear at scheduled court proceedings, stopped responding to communications from clients and failed to refund unearned fees.
Kish won’t be eligible to apply for reinstatement of his law license until January 2014.
Before being reinstated, Kish must make restitution to 10 former clients and provide proof of continued mental-health counseling and competence to return to law practice.
Kish also must agree to serve a two-year probationary period, during which the Mahoning County Bar Association will monitor his practice and law office trust account.
Attys. John B. Juhasz and Lynn Maro, representing Pritchard and Kish, respectively, could not be reached for comment.