On Friday, June 30, 2023, the Supreme Court of Ohio accepted the resignation of attorney Mary Lee Pilla, who was facing disciplinary action for allegedly having a conflict of interest in a trust fund matter.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Mary Lee Pilla,” with case no. 2023-0614.
On December 29, 2022, the Disciplinary Counsel filed Disciplinary charges against the respondent before the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio. The respondent was named as the residual beneficiary and successor trustee of a trust fund. However, the complainant alleges that his conduct violated the conflict of interest, as the respondent’s representation of the client involves matters that could impact her financial interests in the same trust.
The report states:
“On December 11, 2018, the respondent sent a letter to the Ritter children attaching a copy of James’s Will and the Trust documents. The Trust beneficiaries were redacted, as per the handwritten clause written by the respondent on the November 2018 Ritter Trust amendment. Therefore, none of the children were aware that the respondent was the sole residual beneficiary. In May 2019, the respondent made distributions under the terms of the Ritter Trust to the Trust’s designated beneficiaries. After making those distributions, the respondent distributed $238,671.19 from the Ritter Trust to herself as the sole residual beneficiary. Respondent left $49,141.69 in the Ritter Trust to cover costs associated with the South Carolina litigation; however, as the sole residual beneficiary, those funds have remained in the respondent’s possession and the respondent could withdraw them at any time. The total of these two disbursements is $287,812.88.”
The report continues:
“The Relator requests that the respondent be found in violation of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and be sanctioned accordingly.”
In lieu of the charges, the respondent submitted a resignation application on June 27, 2023, which was accepted by the Ohio Supreme Court. The resignation comes with disciplinary action pending. As a result of the court’s decision, the respondent is no longer authorized to practice law in Ohio and was ordered to refrain from any legal services or activities. She must also reimburse any amounts awarded against her by the lawyers’ fund for client protection and follow specific procedures regarding clients and pending matters.
The Disposition states:
“On consideration thereof, it is ordered by the court that pursuant to Gov.Bar R. VI(11)(C), the resignation as an attorney and counselor at law is accepted as a resignation with disciplinary action pending.”
Ms. Pilla attended the Cleveland Marshall College Of Law, graduating in 1981. Her profile on martindale.com states that she practices in Novelty, Ohio, and is licensed in Ohio.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.