An attorney from Duluth suspended from practicing law indefinitely since 2012 for professional misconduct was reinstated this week by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
William D. Paul, 55, had a reinstatement hearing in 2013 before the state’s Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, which filed the petition to suspend him in 2012.
After the May hearing, the board concluded that Paul had proved he is morally fit to resume the practice of law. They recommended four years of probation and conditions that will include supervision by another attorney. The order to reinstate him was filed this week.
Paul, who has been practicing law since 1985, has received five admonitions, a public reprimand, and twice was placed on supervised probation over 20 years, according to the board. His prior misconduct included failing to communicate with clients, handle a matter with adequate diligence and promptness, and safeguard client funds. He also didn’t cooperate with a disciplinary investigation and wouldn’t provide an accounting of his fees upon a client’s request.
In the 2012 hearing, the referee concluded that Paul failed to provide competent representation and obey court rules. These new violations showed “he lacked an appropriate legal and moral compass,” the referee said.
For his reinstatement, Paul is required to cooperate with the lawyers board, abide by rules of professional conduct, provide a list of client files to his supervising attorney each month and undergo a mental health evaluation.