On Thursday, September 21, 2023, attorney Lorenzo A. Hester, an attorney registered in Illinois and Missouri, was disbarred in Illinois after being disciplined in Missouri. The Supreme Court of Illinois entered the order following a petition by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to impose reciprocal discipline against Hester pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 763.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Lorenzo A. Hester,” with case no. 031844.
On November 22, 2022, the Supreme Court of Missouri disbarred Lorenzo A. Hester for extensive misconduct. An audit of his client trust account revealed that he had engaged in extensive misconduct, including charging clients fees not specified in contingency fee agreements, depositing settlement checks into his operating account without any relationship to fees earned, and failing to reconcile his client trust account or maintain required records.
Additionally, Hester misappropriated clients’ funds by signing their names on checks without authorization and depositing the proceeds into his operating account. He also failed to explain fees to clients and provided a client with a check for $5,600 despite never receiving or depositing a settlement check.
The Petition for Reciprocal Discipline states:
“He had that client sign a document releasing all claims against Respondent and his law firm without the client being independently represented.”
Moreover, Hester obstructed and engaged in deceptive practices during the disciplinary proceedings by repeatedly failing to respond to the Missouri disciplinary authority’s requests for settlement statements during the audit, providing misleading records, and seeking to introduce inaccurate records at his disciplinary hearing. The Supreme Court of Missouri accepted the findings and recommendations, disbarring Hester on November 22, 2022. The Court ordered that Hester’s name be stricken from the roll of attorneys licensed to practice law in Missouri.
The Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission in Illinois filed a petition with the state’s Supreme Court, seeking reciprocal discipline against Hester for his misconduct. The petition requested that the Court impose discipline on Hester, including the possibility of disbarment, in light of the seriousness of his offenses.
In response, the Supreme Court of Illinois accepted the petition and subsequently disbarred Hester, effectively prohibiting him from practicing law in the state.
The Disposition states:
“Petition by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to impose reciprocal discipline pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 763. Allowed. Respondent Lorenzo A. Hester, who has been disciplined in the State of Missouri, is disbarred in the State of Illinois.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Hester practiced as an insurance attorney in Saint Louis, Missouri prior to his disbarment. He acquired his law license in Illinois in 2005.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.