On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, the Minnesota Supreme Court disbarred attorney Fong E. Lee from practicing law in the state following numerous violations of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct related to his representation of five clients.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Fong E. Lee” with case number A23-0008.

The court found that Lee misappropriated over $18,000 in funds from three clients by failing to distribute the full settlement amounts they were owed. He also failed to return unearned fees to one client and did not maintain proper trust account books and records. Lee was found to have inadequately communicated with several clients and failed to cooperate with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility’s investigation into his misconduct.

This was not the first time Lee had been disciplined – he previously received private probation, public reprimand and probation, and an admonishment between 2009 and 2020 for trust account and fee arrangement violations. The referee in the case did not find any mitigating factors for Lee’s actions. Given the seriousness of misappropriating client funds and lack of mitigation, the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed with the referee’s recommendation to disbar Lee from practicing law.

The disposition states:

“For the foregoing reasons, respondent Fong E. Lee is disbarred from the practice of law in the State of Minnesota, effective on the date of this opinion. Respondent must comply with Rule 26, RLPR (requiring notice to clients, opposing counsel, and tribunals), and must pay $900 in costs under Rule 24(a), RLPR.”

Mr. Lee obtained his law license in Minnesota in 2007.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.