ORDER REINSTATING ATTORNEY TO THE PRACTICE OF LAW
[¶1] This matter came before the Court upon the ''Report and Recommendation for Reinstatement," filed herein November 26, 2018, by the Board of Professional Responsibility for the Wyoming State Bar. By order entered October 25, 2017, this Court suspended Respondent from the practice of law for a period of nine months, with that period commencing August 10, 2017, the effective date of Respondent's suspension in Colorado. See Rule 19 of the Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure (Discipline Imposed by Foreign Jurisdiction). Board of Professional Responsibility, Wyoming State Bar v. Cook, 2017 WY 128, 403 P.3d 1057 (Wyo. 2017). Respondent subsequently sought reinstatement. Now, after a careful review of the Board of Professional Responsibility's Report and Recommendation for Reinstatement and the file, this Court finds that the Report and Recommendation should be approved, confirmed and adopted by the Court; and that the Respondent, Mary Jaclyn Cook (who is now known as Mary Jacklyn Thompson) should be reinstated to the practice of law. It is, therefore, [¶2] ADJUDGED AND ORDERED that the Board of Professional Responsibility's Report and Recommendation for Reinstatement, which is attached hereto and incorporated herein, shall be, and the same hereby is, approved, confirmed and adopted by this Court; and it is further [¶3] ADJUDGED AND ORDERED that the Respondent be, and hereby is, reinstated to the practice of law in Wyoming, effective immediately; and it is further [¶4] ORDERED that, pursuant to Rule 9(b) of the Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, this Order Reinstating Attorney to the Practice of Law, along with the incorporated Report and Recommendation for Reinstatement, shall be published in the Wyoming Reporter and the Pacific Reporter; and it is further [¶5] ORDERED that the Clerk of this Court shall docket this Order Reinstating Attorney to the Practice of Law, along with the incorporated Report and Recommendation for Reinstatement, as a matter coming regularly before this Court as a public record; and it is further [¶6] ORDERED that the Clerk of this Court transmit a copy of this Order Reinstating Attorney to the Practice of Law to the members of the Board of Professional Responsibility and to the clerks of the appropriate courts of the State of Wyoming. [¶7] DATED this 5th day of December, 2018.
BY THE COURT:
MICHAEL K. DAVIS
BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT STATE OF WYOMING
In the matter of MARY JACLYN THOMPSON , WSB # 7-5492 , Respondent.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION FOR REINSTATEMENT
THIS MATTER having come before the Board of Professional Responsibility for consideration of the stipulated motion for reinstatement and supporting affidavit of Mary Jaclyn Thompson, formerly known as Mary Jaclyn Cook, WSB #7-5492, Respondent, and the Board being fully advised in the premises, finds, concludes and recommends as follows:
Findings of Fact
1. Respondent was admitted to practice in Wyoming in 2015. Respondent is a resident of Colorado, where she was also licensed to practice law in 2015. Respondent has executed and submitted an affidavit providing the factual basis for the stipulated motion for reinstatement.
2. On August 10, 2017, an "Order Approving Conditional Admission of Misconduct and Imposing Sanctions Under C.R.C.P. 251.22" (the "Colorado Order") was issued by the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Colorado Supreme Court. The Colorado Order resulted from a "Second Amended Stipulation, Agreement and Affidavit Containing Respondent's Conditional Admission of Misconduct" in which Respondent conditionally admitted violations of Rules 4.1(a) and 8.4(c) of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. Respondent acknowledges that Wyoming's W.R.P.C. Rules 4.1(a) and 8.4(c) are identical to the Colorado rules.
3. The Colorado Order imposed a nine-month suspension upon Respondent effective August 10, 2017.
4. Respondent's nine-month suspension in Colorado followed Respondent's conditional admission of having inflated and fabricated certain billing entries in an effort to meet her law firm's targeted billable hours requirement The inflated and fabricated time entries were discovered by the firm and appropriate corrections were made.
5. In Respondent's subsequent stipulation for reciprocal discipline in Wyoming, Respondent acknowledged and affirmed the accuracy of all facts and findings in the Colorado disciplinary proceedings. Respondent admitted that her conduct as set forth therein violated Rules 4.1(a) and 8.4(c) of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct.
6. By Order dated October 25, 2017, the Wyoming Supreme Court approved and adopted this Board's Report and Recommendation for Order of Reciprocal Discipline and ordered a nine-month suspension commencing August 10, 2017, the effective date of the Colorado Order of suspension.
7. On September 14, 2018, Respondent filed a verified petition for reinstatement and paid therewith the requisite fee.
8. Respondent has fully complied with this Board's Report and Recommendation for Order of Reciprocal Discipline filed October 17, 2017, and the Court's Order Suspending Attorney from the Practice of Law filed October 25, 2017 (the "Order"). The Order was made effective nunc pro tunc to the effective date of Respondent's suspension from the practice of law in Colorado, which began on August 10, 2017.
9. Following her suspension in Wyoming, Respondent filed an affidavit within 14 days after the effective date of the Order; filed her annual license fee statement during the period of the suspension; and paid the annual license fee for 2018 on August 29, 2018, including any late fees, all as required by Rule 21 of the Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure.
10. Respondent has kept current with payment of her annual license fees in Colorado and Minnesota, as well.
11. Respondent has kept current with all continuing legal education (CLE) requirements during the disciplinary period and paid all necessary fees for the states of Wyoming, Colorado, and Minnesota, including any late fees.
12. There have been no claims or awards paid on Respondent's behalf from the Client Protection Fund.
13. Respondent has not practiced law in any of the three states in which she had been admitted - Colorado, Minnesota, and Wyoming. Since being suspended in Colorado on August 10, 2017, Respondent regained active status in Colorado on May 10, 2018. On August 27, 2018, the Minnesota Supreme Court filed an order approving the jointly recommended disposition between Respondent and the Director of the Office of Lawyers of Professional Responsibility, which ordered that a nine-month suspension was "substantially different" from discipline previously imposed in Minnesota and agreed that a six-month suspension was appropriate, and that the suspension from the practice of law be for a minimum of six months, retroactive to August 10, 2017.
14. Respondent has maintained professional competence during the suspension. In October of 2017, Respondent began working as an anti-money laundering analyst servicing a global retailer. In this position, Respondent works with a team of analysts whose final work product is sent to the Financial Crimes and Enforcement Network for further investigation, and the team ensures that the retailer complies with its anti-money laundering requirements.
15. In June of 2017, Respondent started a nonprofit organization that gained 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit status from the IRS in May of 2018.
16. Beginning in Spring of 2017, Respondent sought therapy to better learn and utilize stress management approaches to prevent the circumstances that resulted in this suspension.
17. Respondent has lawyer mentors to whom she may go for guidance on the practice of law, including Alec Rothrock, a legal ethics attorney who represented Respondent in the Colorado disciplinary matter, business colleagues in Denver, and former professors from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
18. Bar Counsel and Respondent reached an agreement within 60 days of the filing of Respondent's verified petition for reinstatement.
Conclusions of Law
19. Rule 22(b) of the Wyoming Rules of Disciplinary Procedure is applicable to this proceeding and provides:
(b) Reinstatement after disbarment or suspension for more than six months. An attorney who has been disbarred or suspended for a period of greater than six (6) months may seek to return to active status by filing a verified petition for reinstatement with the BPR and serving a copy on Bar Counsel.
(1) A disbarred attorney may not file a verified petition for reinstatement until five years after the effective date of the order of disbarment.
(A) Concurrent with the filing of a verified petition for reinstatement, a disbarred attorney shall submit a written request for preparation of a character report to the National Conference of Bar Examiners and shall pay the requisite fee for such report A copy of the request shall be attached to the verified petition for reinstatement.
(B) A fee of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) shall accompany the filing of a verified petition for reinstatement by a disbarred attorney.
(2) An attorney who has been suspended for a period of greater than six (6) months may file a verified petition for reinstatement no sooner than ninety (90) days prior to the expiration of the period specified in the order of suspension unless another period is specified in the order. A fee of five hundred dollars ($500.00) shall accompany the filing of a verified petition for reinstatement by a suspended attorney.
(3) The verified petition for reinstatement shall set forth the facts other than passage of time and absence of additional misconduct upon which the petitioning attorney relies to establish that the attorney possesses all of the qualifications required of applicants for admission to the Wyoming State Bar, fully considering the previous disciplinary action taken against the attorney, and shall include certification that:
(A) The attorney is current on the payment of annual license fees and any late charges;
(B) The attorney has complied with all continuing legal education requirements during the disciplinary period and has paid all necessary fees;
(C) Restitution has been made as ordered to any persons and the Client Protection Fund, including the source and amount of funds used to make restitution; and
(D) The attorney has complied with all requirements of the Court's disciplinary order.
(4) The attorney seeking reinstatement must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the attorney has been rehabilitated, has complied with all applicable disciplinary orders and with all provisions of these rules, has not engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, and is fit to practice law.
(5) A copy of the verified petition for reinstatement shall be served upon all complainants in the underlying disciplinary proceedings, who shall have thirty (30) days to submit their written comments to the BPR.
(6) Reinstatement proceedings following disciplinary suspension or disbarment.
(A) Immediately upon receipt of a verified petition for reinstatement, Bar Counsel shall conduct any investigation Bar Counsel deems necessary. The petitioner shall cooperate in any such investigation.
(B) Following investigation, Bar Counsel and the attorney may stipulate to reinstatement by submitting to the BPR a written stipulation and affidavit of the attorney which provides a detailed description of the factual basis for compliance with the requirements for reinstatement. Any such stipulation shall be approved or disapproved by the BPR. If the stipulation is approved, a report and recommendation shall be transmitted to the Court If accepted by the Court, the Court shall issue its order stating that the attorney is reinstated to the practice of law, which may include any conditions the Court deems appropriate.
(C) If Bar Counsel and the attorney do not reach a stipulation for the attorney's reinstatement within 60 days of the filing of the verified petition for reinstatement and, if applicable, receipt of the character report of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, Bar Counsel shall file an answer to the petition. Thereafter, the
petition for reinstatement shall proceed to a hearing before the BPR as provided in Rule 15.
(D) In deciding whether to recommend reinstatement, the BPR shall consider the attorney's past disciplinary record. The BPR may condition a recommendation for reinstatement upon compliance with any additional requirements it deems appropriate, including but not limited to the payment of restitution to any person harmed by the misconduct for which the petitioner was suspended.
(7) Successive petitions. No petition for reinstatement under this rule shall be accepted within two years following a denial of a previous petition for reinstatement filed on behalf of the same person. If a suspended or disbarred attorney has not obtained reinstatement within seven years after the effective date of the order of suspension or disbarment, the attorney's membership in the Wyoming State Bar shall terminate. Such attorney who thereafter seeks admission to the Wyoming State Bar shall comply with the admission requirements set forth in the Wyoming Rules and Procedures Governing Admission to the Practice of Law.
(8) If an attorney who has been disbarred or suspended does not seek reinstatement within one (1) year from the date the attorney becomes eligible to seek reinstatement, such attorney's membership in the Wyoming State Bar shall terminate. Such attorney who thereafter seeks admission to the Wyoming State Bar shall comply with the admission requirements set forth in the Wyoming Rules and Procedures Governing Admission to the Practice of Law.
For the reasons stated in the Stipulation Motion for Reinstatement and based on the facts in the Affidavit submitted therewith, and for good cause shown, the Board recommends that Respondent be reinstated.
DATED this 17th day of November, 2018.
Jeffrey A. Donnell, Vice-Chair
Board of Professional Responsibility
Wyoming State Bar