On Wednesday, November 23, 2022, the State of Minnesota Supreme Court ordered the suspension of Minneapolis attorney S. Steven Prince.

The case is entitled “In the matter of S. Steven Prince” and was brought by the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility with case no A22-1216.

The charges cited Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4(a)(3)-(4), 1.4(b), 1.5(b)(3), 1.15(a), 1.15(c)(4)-(5), 1.16(d), 3.4(c), 5.5(a)-(b), 8.4(d), 3.2, 3.4(c), 8.4(d), 8.1(b) and Rules on Laywers Professional Responsiblity.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

Allegedly, the respondent had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct with the following conducts: (a) Respondent failed to deposit an advance fee into trusty, effectively abandoned the representation, failed to communicate properly with clients, failed to timely refile unearned fees upon request, and failed to timely return the client’s file; (b) engaging with unauthorized practice of law for more than 3 months while suspended; (c) failure to timely remit payment as he had agreed to do so, failure to timely respond to delivery requests, failure to comply with court orders; (d) failure to cooperate in Disciplinary Investigations.

The filing states:

“Respondent’s flat-fee agreement signed by the Westras did not state that the fee would not be held in a trust account until earned but did allow that the Westras would be entitled to a refund of a portion of the fee if “at the end of the representation, the flat fee paid is unreasonably high relative to an hourly fee arrangement.”

The filing continues:

“By email dated October 5, 2020, the Westras requested an update on their matter, stating, “It has been more than three months now since you have mentioned anything related to the arbitration process.” By email dated October 9, 2020, the respondent apologized to the Westras for not being in touch, stating he was dealing with some medical issues. Respondent further stated, “I will get you a fileable claim before Wednesday [i.e., October 14, 2020] and we will get the arbitration commenced next week [i.e., by October 16, 2020].”Respondent failed to prepare, or provide to the Westras a copy of a claim to be filed or to otherwise commence the arbitration.”

The filing further states:

“Across multiple client matters between December 28, 2020, and April 5, 2021, the respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Among other acts constituting the practice of law, the respondent appeared in court and represented a client during a three-day court trial, attended a status hearing and scheduling conference, signed documents identifying himself as a lawyer and filed these documents with the court, otherwise conducted himself with clients as if he were authorized to practice law, and held himself out as authorized to practice. During this period, the respondent continued to utilize law firm letterhead without any indication of his restricted status and maintained his financial interest in Prince, PLLC, a professional corporation that provides legal services.”

A stipulation has been agreed to by the Respondent and the Director. On the said stipulation, the respondent unconditionally admits the allegations in the petition. The parties both agreed that the appropriate sanction is to discipline the respondent by a 60-day suspension. The court, independently reviewing the file approved the stipulation.

The Disposition states:

“Respondent S. Steven Prince is suspended from the practice of law for a minimum of 60 days, effective 14 days from the date of this order.”

As of today, Mr. Prince is listed on the website of the Law firm Prince PLLC. His info can be found on Linkedin. Prince attended the Mitchell Hamline School of law, graduating in 1998. He practices in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is licensed in Minnesota with license #0287696.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.