On Friday, April 21, 2023, the Supreme Court of the State of Kansas suspended attorney Jeff L. McVey for his professional misconduct involving the violation of the safekeeping property rules.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Jeff L. McVey,” and was brought by the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator with case no. 125.499.
The charges cited Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15, 8.4(c), and rule 210.
Lawyers must properly safeguard the property of their clients and third persons. Properly safeguarding the property of others necessarily requires lawyers to deposit unearned fees into an attorney trust account. KRPC 1.15(a) specifically provides, in part, that lawyers ‘shall hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer’s possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer’s own property. Funds shall be kept in a separate account maintained in the state of Kansas. Other property shall be identified as such and appropriately safeguarded.
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
Lawyers must cooperate in disciplinary investigations. Rule 210 provides the requirements in this regard: ‘(b) Duty to Respond. An attorney must timely respond to a request from the disciplinary administrator for information during an investigation and prosecution of an initial complaint or a report, a docketed complaint, and a formal complaint.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The case is rooted in the respondent’s representation of several clients wherein he allegedly failed to comply with the safekeeping property, professional misconduct, and duty to cooperate rules.
The filing states:
“The respondent testified that after he put this cash in his desk drawer, ‘it got commingled with other funds and deposited somewhere else.’ The respondent further testified, ‘Frankly, I don’t know for sure where it went.’ The respondent did not repay the $1,000 because the firm owed the respondent more than that amount when the respondent left the firm on May 29, 2020. The respondent was owed $l,009.61 for his last week’s wages, the amount of his ownership interest in the firm, and some unreimbursed mileage expenses. The respondent believed that by May 29, 2020, he had earned the full $1,000.”
The filing continues:
“M.K. expected to receive monthly disbursements from the respondent for the payments to M.K. from the escrow but would typically wait five to six months before receiving a disbursement from the respondent. MK. relied in part on these payments to pay her living expenses. M.K. told law enforcement that she received letters from the respondent on the McPherson law firm letterhead, but the checks she received from the respondent for the escrow disbursements came from a personal checking account in the name and his wife’s name.”
In regard to the investigation made by the disciplinary administrator, it was said that the respondent failed to provide a written agreement or sufficient documentation of the payments and how these payments regarding the respondent’s management of escrow accounts were distributed. Moreover, the respondent also failed to provide a full accounting of the income and the same.
After considering the evidence and recommendations presented before the court, the latter concluded that the appropriate discipline is the respondent’s suspension for one year from the practice of law.
The Disposition states:
“IT Is THEREFORE ORDERED that Jeff L. McVey is suspended for one year from the practice of law in the state of Kansas, effective the date of this opinion, in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 225(a)(3) (2023 Kan. S. Ct. R. at 281) for violations of RPC 1.15, 8.4(c), and Rule 210.”
Mr. McVey is listed as an associate at McVey Law Office. He attended the Washburn University of Topeka, graduating in 1993. He practices in Great Bend, Kansas. He is licensed in Kansas. His info can be found on martindale.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.