The Iowa Supreme Court suspended attorney Scott Sobel’s law license for 30 days on November 9, 2023. In its opinion, the Court found Sobel violated conduct rules by neglecting duties and failing to communicate with clients in a 2021 criminal case and civil matter. This suspension stems from complaints filed by the Attorney Disciplinary Board.
The case is entitled “Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board v. Scott Alden Sobel,” with case no. 23-0549.
The charges cited Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct 32:1.3, 32:1.4(a)(3), 32:1.16(a)(2), 32:3.2, 32:8.4(d) which states
Failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing the client.
Failed to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter.
Failed to withdraw from representation when his physical condition materially impaired his ability to represent the client.
Failed to make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation.
Engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice by causing unnecessary delays and proceedings.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
According to the filing, Sobel was appointed to represent Mario Goodson at a resentencing hearing on September 14, 2021. However, on the day before the hearing, Sobel discovered he did not have access to the presentencing investigation report and did not take steps to remedy the issue before the hearing began. At the start of the hearing, Sobel revealed he had not reviewed the report. The judge granted breaks for Sobel and Goodson to review it, but Goodson said he did not have adequate time to review it. Sobel also failed to communicate with Goodson at all before the hearing.
In another case, Sobel represented Samir Golubovic and Ramiza Dervisedic beginning on February 23, 2021. However, Sobel did not serve the defendants within the required 90 days. He then missed two court hearings in June and July related to the case. When the defendants filed a motion to dismiss in August, Sobel did not respond. The court dismissed the case.
In his defense, Sobel argued his physical health problems, including bronchitis, diabetes issues, and COVID exposure, prevented him from responding to the motion on time. However, the Court found Sobel should have withdrawn from representing Golubovic and Dervisedic, as his physical condition materially impaired his ability.
The Court concluded Sobel’s actions in both cases violated rules requiring diligence, communication with clients, withdrawing from impaired representation, expediting litigation, and conduct not prejudicial to justice. Sobel has received six prior admonishments and three reprimands since 2002 for similar violations. Given his extensive disciplinary history and lack of remorse, the Court determined a 30-day suspension was warranted.
The Disposition states:
“We hereby suspend Sobel’s license to practice law in Iowa with no possibility for reinstatement for thirty days. Sobel’s suspension will commence ten days from the date of this decision. Iowa Ct. R. 34.23(1). This suspension applies to all facets of the practice of law. Iowa Ct. R. 34.23(3). Sobel must also comply with the client and counsel notification requirements of Iowa Court Rule 34.24. We tax the costs of this action to Sobel under Iowa Court Rule 36.24(1).”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Sobel is an attorney in Oelwein, Iowa. He acquired his law license in Iowa in 1983.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.