On Thursday, April 13, 2023, the Supreme Court of Ohio reinstated attorney Michael Aaron Heller after his suspension for poor supervision of a non-lawyer who worked in his office. 

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Michael Aaron Heller,” with case no. 2022-0742.

The respondent,  through an order from the court dated July 1, 2021, was suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year, with six months stayed on conditions. This is rooted in the complaint filed by the Metropolitan Bar Association alleging that the respondent committed multiple ethical violations related mostly to his handling of a single client’s bankruptcy matter and to his supervisory and financial relationship with a non-lawyer who worked in his office.

The Order states:

“In December 2016, Heller discovered that T.F. was collecting cash payments from clients but was not keeping accurate records or remitting all of the funds to Heller. Nevertheless, Heller allowed T.F. to continue working as his office assistant, believing that T.F. would repay to the firm any money that he had not properly remitted. By early to mid-2017, however, Heller came to believe that T.F. was stealing money from the law firm. After some internal investigation, Heller estimated that T.F. had embezzled approximately $19,000 from the firm—some of which Heller claimed had been stored in an office safe—but Heller’s financial records proved insufficient to establish the exact amount of the loss.”

The Order continues:

“In November 2017, Heller reported the alleged theft to the Euclid police department. According to Heller, T.F. eventually admitted that he had stolen some client payments—albeit substantially less than Heller had alleged. There is no evidence that criminal charges were ever brought against T.F., and the Euclid police report states that the case is closed. Heller now admits that he exercised extremely poor supervision over T.F. even after he discovered serious irregularities in T.F.’s recordkeeping and handling of client payments.”

The Order further states:

“At Heller’s disciplinary hearing, the relator presented the expert testimony of Robert Barr, an experienced bankruptcy attorney, and trustee. Barr testified that he had reviewed VanEyk’s bankruptcy filings and found that they contained numerous deficiencies and inaccuracies. He opined that Heller had not properly reviewed the documents that VanEyk had given him or properly advised her regarding the bankruptcy proceeding or the likely disposition of the Ford Escape, which could likely have been protected. Based on Barr’s testimony and the other evidence admitted at the hearing, the board found that the VanEyk bankruptcy filings were deficient and inaccurate.”

Following his suspension due to the above-mentioned misconduct, attorney Heller applied for a petition for reinstatement before the Supreme Court of Ohio. And upon consideration of the same, it granted the request of attorney Heller.

The order states:

“Therefore, it is ordered by this court that the respondent is reinstated to the practice of law in the state of Ohio. It is further ordered, consistent with the opinion rendered herein on July l, 2021, that respondent shall be required to work with a monitor appointed by the relator for a period of six months to ensure that the respondent implements proper law-office and client-trust-account management procedures.”

As of today, Mr. Heller is listed in the law firm The Brueck Law Firm, LLC as a practicing attorney. He attended the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University. He practices in Euclid, Ohio. He is licensed in Ohio. His info can be found on lawywer.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.