On Friday, February 24, 2023, the Supreme Court of Louisiana ordered the disbarment of Lake Charles attorney Richard Forrest White for misconduct. The case is styled “In Re: Richard Forrest White’ and was brought by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC), under case no. 2022-B-01701.

The charges cited Rules 1.3(a) (failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client), 1.4 (failure to communicate with a client), 1.16(d) (obligations upon termination of the representation), 3.4(c) (knowing disobedience of an obligation under the rules of a tribunal), 8.1(c) (failure to cooperate with the ODC in its investigation), 8.4(b) (commission of a criminal act reflecting adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer), 8.4(a) (violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation),  and 8.4(d)  of the Rules of Professional Conduct. 

The Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

The disbarment arose from two sets of formal charges filed against White and was considered by separate hearing committees, respectively. White did not file anything for either committee’s recommendation.

The filing states:

“The records of these two deemed admitted matters support a finding that respondent neglected a legal matter and continuously misled the client about the status of the legal matter, engaged in criminal conduct involving illegal drugs, failed to appear for his arraignment and evaded a bench warrant for more than five years, ignored a client’s multiple requests for the return of his file, and failed to cooperate with the ODC in three investigations.”

The hearing committee for the first formal charge recommended White’s permanent disbarment. While the hearing committee for the second formal charge recommended White’s suspension from the practice of law for a period of one year and one-day suspension.

The Disciplinary Board, in its review of the formal charges, agreed with both the hearing committees that White violated the Rules of Professional Conduct as charged, and that White knowingly and intentionally violated duties owed to his clients, the public, the legal system, and the legal profession. For these reasons, the Disciplinary Board recommended White’s disbarment, and White be ordered to return Mr. Campbell’s file. White nor the ODC objected to the Disciplinary Board’s recommendation.

With the foregoing facts and discussions, the court ruled against White in relation to the above-cited Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Disposition reads:

“Upon review of the findings and recommendations of the hearing committees and the disciplinary board, and considering the record, it is ordered that Richard Forrest White Louisiana Bar Roll number 22892, be and he hereby is disbarred. His name shall be stricken from the roll of attorneys and his license to practice law in the State of Louisiana shall be revoked.”

All costs and expenses of the proceedings were assessed against White.

Mr. Richard Forrest White practiced in Lake Charles, prior to the disbarment. He had been licensed in Louisiana.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.