A Colorado lawyer who did not meet the performance standards in her fee agreement with a client was suspended by the state’s Supreme Court on Friday, June 23, 2023. Lucette Brenna Laffoon did not earn the fees she charged for her legal services, according to the Presiding Disciplinary Judge.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Lucette Brenna Laffoon” with case no. 23PDJ026.

The charges cited Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.5(a), 1.5(h), 1.15(a), 1.15(a)(c), and 1.16(d) which states:

A lawyer must act with reasonable diligence and promptness when representing a client.

A lawyer must not charge an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses.

A lawyer must include specific benchmarks for earning a portion of a flat fee if any portion is to be earned before the conclusion of the representation.

A lawyer must hold client property separate from the lawyer’s own property.

A lawyer must keep separate any property in which two or more persons claim an interest until there is a resolution of the claims.

A lawyer must protect a client’s interests upon termination of 2 the representation, including by return ing unearned fees and any papers and property to which the client is entitled.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

The disciplinary action against Laffoon stems from her handling of a husband and wife’s immigration matter. Laffoon charged a total fee of $10,000 but failed to earn the fees by not meeting the benchmarks specified in the fee agreement. She also made errors and delays in filing necessary immigration documents. Additionally, Laffoon improperly transferred funds from the clients to her operating account and failed to provide the required documentation to a subsequent lawyer hired by the clients.

The filing states:

“Around December 2019 or January 2020, Laffoon began working on an I-130 petition and an I-130A supplement for the matter. Concurrent with that work, Laffoon partially completed an I-601 A waiver for the husband. She also filed a FOIA request with immigration authorities in September 2020. Meanwhile, the clients had paid Laffoon a total of $9,100.00 towards her fee between August 2019 and November 2020, at which time they stopped making payments and Laffoon began moving their funds to her operating account. But Laffoon’s staff did not successfully file the I-130 petition and the I-130A supplement until January 2022. The documents contained several errors, omissions, or inconsistent information, but the petition was ultimately approved.”

In lieu of these said events, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Supreme Court of Colorado ordered to suspend the respondent from the practice of law.

The Disposition states:

“The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved the parties’ amended stipulation to discipline and suspended Lucette Brenna Laffoon (attorney registration number 46261) for one year and one day, all to stay upon Laffoon’s successful completion of a two-year period of probation, which took effect June 23, 2023.”

Ms. Laffoon attended the Ave Maria School of Law, graduating in 2012. She practices in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. She is licensed in Colorado. Her info can be found on lawyer.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.