The Ohio Supreme Court has given Atty. Michael B. Dockry a one-year stayed law-license suspension for improper bookkeeping in his law practice.
The suspension, announced Wednesday, was based on a complaint by Jonathan Coughlin, the top court’s disciplinary counsel, that Dockry commingled his personal funds with client funds in his law practice’s bank account.
Dockry, who also is Austintown Township administrator, has had no prior discipline during his 30-year legal career.
Dockry was accused of using his practice’s interest on lawyer trust account (IOLTA) to deposit and withdraw personal funds between 2007 and 2010, according to the complaint.
The complaint said he used the IOLTA to pay personal and business expenses, including office rent to suspended lawyer and former Austintown trustee Warren “Bo” Pritchard and the office telephone bill.
Dockry also failed to maintain the ledgers of client funds in the IOLTA, which are required by the state’s rules of professional conduct for lawyers.
In a filing with the top court in the disciplinary case, Dockry’s lawyer, John B. Juhasz, did not dispute Couglin’s allegations, and Juhasz added that Dockry cooperated fully with the disciplinary investigation.
“Though he did not know, or did not realize, that he was acting improperly, there is no dispute that he was,” Juhasz wrote.
“I know I made some accounting mistakes and I’ve corrected them,” Dockry said.
Township Trustee Lisa Oles said Dockry does a good job for the township and that she is satisfied with the explanation Dockry gave her for the matter pertaining to his law practice.
“I do not believe that this decision [by the top court to discipline him] is going to interfere in any way with his job with the township,” Oles added.