On Wednesday, November 29, 2023, Attorney Suzanne E. Geer received a public admonition from the Commission on Practice of the Supreme Court of the State of Montana for violating conflict of interest rules.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Suzanne E. Geer,” with case no. PR 23-0276.

The charges cited Rules 1.7 and 1.9 of the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct.

The violations stemmed from Geer’s representation of a couple, Michael Ellsworth and Ann Fox, in 2012 when she prepared a prenuptial agreement and mirror wills for them without obtaining proper conflict waivers. Years later, in 2021, when Fox and Ellsworth began divorce proceedings, Geer undertook representation of Ellsworth despite the clear conflict of interest from her prior joint work for the couple. She filed an answer on Ellsworth’s behalf in April 2021 but failed to obtain written conflict waivers from either party as required.

During a settlement conference in October 2021, the settlement master flagged the conflict issue and encouraged Geer to withdraw. She did withdraw at that time. At the divorce trial in April 2022, Geer was called as a witness and testified about her failure to obtain proper waivers for both the prenuptial work and later representation of Ellsworth against Fox.

After considering the facts presented at a hearing on July 29, 2023, the Commission found that Geer’s actions violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. As a sanction, the Commission ordered Geer to receive a public admonition to be delivered orally at a later date. She was also ordered to pay costs and comply with Montana’s rules going forward.

The Disposition states:

“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT the Conditional Admission is accepted. Geer shall receive a public admonition by the Commission, to be delivered orally at a time to be set by subsequent notice, pay the costs incurred by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and the Commission on Practice in connection with this matter, and be in compliance with the law as set forth above.”

According to Avvo.com, Ms. Geer is a criminal defense attorney in Missoula, Montana. She attended the University of Montana. She acquired her license in Montana in 1996.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.