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State ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of Supreme Court v. Keith

Supreme Court of Nebraska

September 13, 2013

State of Nebraska ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court, relator,
v.
Robert L. Keith, respondent.

Original action. Judgment of suspension.

Heavican, C.J., Wright, Connolly, Stephan, McCormack, Miller-Lerman, and Cassel, JJ.

PER CURIAM.

INTRODUCTION

The conditional admission of respondent, Robert L. Keith, is before the court. Respondent was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Nebraska on April 22, 2003. On June 14, 2012, respondent was suspended from the practice of law for nonpayment of his Nebraska State Bar Association dues for 2012. He remains suspended.

On January 3, 2013, the Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court filed formal charges consisting of one count against respondent. In count I, it was alleged that by his conduct, respondent had

Page 457

violated his oath of office as an attorney, Neb.Rev.Stat. § 7-104 (Reissue 2012), and Neb. Ct. R. of Prof. Cond. §§ 3-505.5(a) (rev.2012) (unauthorized practice of law) and 3-508.4(a) (misconduct). Count I contained an additional allegation which was not admitted. As noted below, because the Counsel for Discipline has declared the discipline proposed in the conditional admission to be appropriate, we read the Counsel for Discipline's declaration to be a withdrawal of the additional allegation. On January 23, the Counsel for Discipline filed additional formal charges consisting of two additional counts against respondent. In the two additional counts, it was alleged that by his conduct, respondent had violated his oath of office as an attorney and Neb. Ct. R. of Prof. Cond. §§ 3-501.3 (diligence), 3-508.1(b) (bar admission and disciplinary matters), and 3-508.4(a), (c), and (d) (misconduct). Respondent filed an answer to the formal charges and additional formal charges on April 4.

[286 Neb. 552] On July 17, 2013, respondent filed a conditional admission pursuant to Neb. Ct. R. § 3-313 of the disciplinary rules, in which he conditionally admitted that he violated his oath of office as an attorney, § 7-104, and professional conduct rules §§ 3-501.3, 3-505.5(a), 3-508.1(b), and 3-508.4(a), (c), and (d), and knowingly chose not to challenge or contest the truth of the matters conditionally admitted and waived all proceedings against him in connection therewith in exchange for suspension without the possibility for reinstatement prior to January 1, 2014. Respondent's conditional admission further provided that as part of respondent's application for reinstatement, he must demonstrate that he has paid all delinquent dues to the Nebraska State Bar Association; he has completed at least 10 hours of continuing legal education, including 2 hours of ethics or professional responsibility instruction, within the 12 months immediately preceding the date of his application; he has provided proof that he has reimbursed his client, Schlecht Construction, LLC, all funds previously paid to respondent as fees; and he has paid all costs assessed against him herein.

The proposed conditional admission included a declaration by the Counsel for Discipline, stating that respondent's request for suspension and other sanctions is appropriate.

Upon due consideration, we approve the conditional admission and order that respondent continue to be suspended until January 1, 2014. Should respondent apply for reinstatement, as part of his application, respondent must demonstrate that he has paid all delinquent dues; completed at least 10 hours of continuing legal education, including 2 hours of ethics or professional responsibility instruction, within the 12 months immediately preceding the date of his application; reimbursed his client, Schlecht Construction; and paid all costs assessed against him herein.

FACTS

Count I.

With respect to count I, the formal charges state that respondent had failed to pay his bar dues for 2012, such that the Counsel for Discipline sent several advisory notices to [286 Neb. 553] respondent and this court issued a show cause order. On June 14, 2012, respondent still had not paid his dues, and he was suspended from the practice of law for the nonpayment of dues. After he was suspended, respondent appeared as counsel with clients in three cases on June 18 and 25.

The formal charges allege that respondent's actions constitute violations of his oath of office as an attorney as provided by § 7-104, professional conduct rules §§ 3-505.5(a) and 3-508.4(a), and ...


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