Ohio attorney Corinne N. Ryan is facing disciplinary action over allegations of attorney misconduct involving a former client. The certified complaint, filed by the Columbus Bar Association before the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio on November 15, 2023, outlines two counts of alleged rule violations in Ryan’s representation of Monique Smith in a divorce case, dating back to 2016.
The case is entitled “Corinne Noelle Ryan v. Columbus Bar Association,” with case no. 2023-039.
The charges cited Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, (a)(2)(a)(3), 1.4(b), 4.1(a), 8.4(a)(c)(h) which states:
A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.
Reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client’s objectives are to be accomplished.
Keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter.
A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to violate or attempt to violate the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct knowingly assist or induce to do so, or to do so through the acts of another.
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
In Count One, Ryan is accused of failing to act with diligence, failing to reasonably communicate with Smith, and providing false statements to Smith regarding the status of her divorce and qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) paperwork from 2016 to 2023. Smith hired Ryan in 2016 for her divorce, then again in 2018 and 2020 for post-divorce work finalizing her QDRO and increasing spousal support.
However, the complaint alleges that despite nearly 100 requests for assistance from Smith between 2018 and 2023, Ryan failed to complete the necessary legal work. Text messages between Smith and Ryan show Ryan provided excuses such as being in court or having a migraine for delays, but without evidence. Due to the delays, Smith claims to have suffered an eviction and loss of child support.
Count Two centers on allegations that in September 2022, Ryan improperly induced Smith to withdraw her initial bar grievance by promising timely work completion. However, Ryan allegedly failed to follow through even after the grievance was withdrawn. The complaint also accuses Ryan of improperly attending Smith’s deposition for the disciplinary case without invitation on June 15, 2023.
If found guilty of the ethical violations, Ryan could face sanctions from the bar association ranging from fines to temporary suspension of her law license. A hearing on the matter is expected to be scheduled for later this year. Ryan has yet to respond to the complaint’s allegations.
The complaint states:
“For the reasons stated above, Corrine N. Ryan should be found to have violated the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and sanctioned appropriately.”
According to avvo.com, Ms. Ryan is a family attorney in Gahanna, Ohio. She attended the Capital University Law School. She acquired her law license in Ohio in 1996.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.