On Tuesday, December 5, 2023, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended attorney Tristan Patrick Gilley for misconduct in a 2018 paternity case.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Tristan Patrick Gilley,” with case no. 2023-B-0989.

The charges cited Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1(a), 1.3, 1.4, 3.2, 8.1(b)(c), and 8.4(a)(c)(d) which states:

Failure to provide competent representation to a client.

Failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

Failure to communicate with a client.

Failure to make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation.

Knowing failure to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority.

Failure to cooperate with the ODC in its investigation.

Violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

Engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

According to the filing, Gilley was retained on March 22, 2018, by Charles Smith of Lafayette to pursue Mr. Smith’s parental rights regarding a child living with her mother in Oklahoma. Gilley sent an initial letter to the mother, Ashley Durham, but took no further action when she did not respond.

In June 2018, Mr. Smith asked Gilley about the status of the case. The two agreed to resend the initial letter, with the understanding that Gilley would file suit if Ms. Durham again failed to reply. Court records show Gilley resent the letter but still did not file any legal action in Louisiana.

Mr. Smith texted Gilley numerous times for updates, and Gilley misled him into believing the case was progressing when in fact nothing had been done. In late March 2019, upon learning no suit had been filed, Mr. Smith terminated Gilley as his attorney.

Ms. Durham’s boyfriend initiated step-parent adoption proceedings in Oklahoma in April 2020. During a March 2021 hearing in that case, Gilley admitted under oath he had not properly handled Mr. Smith’s Louisiana case. The Oklahoma court noted Gilley’s negligence in its ruling against granting Mr. Smith parental rights.

Mr. Smith filed a disciplinary complaint against Gilley with the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel in May 2021. While Gilley responded to some inquiries, he failed to fully cooperate with the ODC investigation.

In a per curiam ruling published on December 5, 2023, the Louisiana Supreme Court said Gilley violated professional conduct rules through neglect of Mr. Smith’s case and failure to communicate. The Court suspended Gilley for six months, with all but 90 days deferred, followed by one year of probation.

The Disposition states:

“Upon review of the findings and recommendation of the hearing committee, and considering the record, it is ordered that Tristan Patrick Gilley, Louisiana Bar Roll number 33854, be and he hereby is suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months. It is further ordered that all but ninety days of this suspension shall be deferred. Following the completion of the active portion of his suspension, respondent shall be placed on probation for a period of one year.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Gilley is a commercial real estate attorney in Shreveport, Louisiana. He acquired his law license in Louisiana in 2011. 

A copy of the original filing can be found here.