On Wednesday, January 10, 2024, the Supreme Court of California issued a disciplinary order regarding attorney Martin Roy Nichols. According to the order, Nichols is suspended from practicing law for one year, however, the suspension is stayed and he is placed on probation for 18 months.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Martin Roy Nichols,” with case no. S282729.

The case stems from allegations that Nichols failed to competently represent a client in her divorce proceedings between 2017 and 2019. The client, Karen Hendricks-Anderson, hired Nichols in 2012 to represent her in her dissolution case against Anderson in Santa Cruz County Superior Court.

Specifically, according to a November 2020 Notice of Disciplinary Charges filed by the State Bar of California, Hendricks-Anderson alleged Nichols failed to take action on her behalf for periods of time in 2017-2018, failed to appear at two scheduled hearings in late 2018-early 2019, failed to promptly prosecute the case, and failed to respond to her status inquiries between late 2018-early 2019. She also claimed he failed to finalize the divorce judgment for over four months in late 2018-early 2019.

Additionally, the notice alleged Nichols failed to account for $6,500 in advanced fees paid to him by Hendricks-Anderson in 2014-2015, after she terminated his services in April 2019.

Nichols was charged with four counts of failing to perform legal work with competence, one count of failing to act with reasonable diligence, one count of failing to render an accounting of client funds, and one count of failing to respond to client inquiries, in violation of California Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Supreme Court order is the final disposition of the matter. Under the terms, if Nichols complies with probation, the one-year stayed suspension will be satisfied and terminated after 18 months. The order also requires him to pay costs to the State Bar.

According to avvo.com, Mr. Nichols is a family attorney in Soquel, California. He attended the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. He acquired his law license in California in 1982.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.