On Friday, January 19, 2024, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly reprimanded attorney William M. Magee for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of William M. Magee,” with case no. 2023-B-0364.

According to the filing, Magee had previously been suspended from practicing law for two years in 2019 related to using forged documents to obtain property. While serving his suspension, Magee was still representing a client, Jerry Dupont, in a civil case against State Farm Insurance in February 2019. After his suspension took effect, Magee filed motions to withdraw from representing Dupont but then engaged in further discussions to settle the case on Dupont’s behalf. The court found that Magee directed his legal assistant to send a settlement counteroffer to opposing counsel via email on February 18, 2019. As this action took place after Magee’s suspension began, it constituted an unauthorized practice of law.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel brought formal charges of misconduct against Magee in August 2021 related to this incident. After a formal hearing where both sides presented evidence and witness testimony, the hearing committee found that Magee had violated professional conduct rules by practicing law while suspended. They recommended he receive a public reprimand.

The disciplinary board reviewed the case and adopted the factual findings of the hearing committee. They determined Magee’s actions knowingly violated his duties to his client and the legal profession. However, they took into account mitigating factors like a lack of dishonest motive and noted the ODC delayed bringing charges for over two years. Considering these factors, the board recommended a one-year suspension on top of Magee’s existing suspension.

In its ruling, the Louisiana Supreme Court found clear and convincing evidence that Magee engaged in unauthorized practice of law as charged. The court issued a public reprimand, finding it adequately addressed Magee’s misconduct given the significant delay by the ODC in filing charges. Additionally, the court directed that any ongoing stay regarding Magee’s application for reinstatement be immediately lifted to avoid further delays.

The Disposition states:

“Upon review of the findings and recommendations of the hearing committee and the disciplinary board, and considering the record, briefs, and oral argument, it is ordered that William M. Magee, Louisiana Bar Roll number 8859, be and he hereby is publicly reprimanded.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Magee is a personal injury attorney in Covington, Louisiana. He acquired his law license in Louisiana in 1978.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.