On Tuesday, July 25, 2023, the Supreme Court of Iowa suspended attorney Wallace D. Parrish for failure to perform a monthly triple reconciliation of the client trust account.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Wallace D. Parrish,” with case no. 23-1073.

In an affidavit and consent submitted on July 7, 2023, Parrish voluntarily agreed to the suspension of his license to practice law in Iowa. The allegations revolve around the period of 2015 and 2016, during which audits of the Client Trust Account (CTA) linked to Parrish Law Firm uncovered concerning issues. These included negative subaccount balances, lack of client withdrawal notices, unresolved checks, and mingling of funds. Furthermore, in December 2020, the Client Security Commission (CSC) initiated a routine audit, setting a deadline for necessary documentation by February 1, 2021, for the upcoming year’s audit. Despite an extended deadline until March 1, the firm only provided incomplete information. This led to missed deadlines and persistent failures to furnish adequate details during the audit process. In response to these allegations and their implications, Parrish’s decision to consent to the suspension of his license reflects a willingness to address the concerns raised regarding his professional conduct.

Furthermore, it was explicitly specified that Parrish’s involvement included his failure to perform monthly triple reconciliations of the Client Trust Account (CTA), not retaining proper records of client accounting and disbursements, and disclosing numerous outstanding checks and negative client balances. The audit couldn’t be completed due to Parrish’s inability to provide sufficient information, resulting in a violation of Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct and trust accounting regulations. Parrish admitted the truth of the alleged misconduct and believed he would be unable to successfully defend against the allegations, potentially leading to the suspension of his law license.

Following this admission, the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board recommended to the court for it to accept Parish’s affidavit consenting to suspension. The Board recommended a 60-day suspension as an appropriate sanction, considering the systemic nature of the violations and Parrish’s prior admonitions for neglect and mishandling of funds, among other aggravating factors.

The complainant’s amended response states:

“His multiple related prior admonitions are aggravating. Parrish has received three prior private admonitions, all of which involve Parrish’s neglect of his responsibilities as an attorney and his mishandling of funds. Parrish received one admonition in 1989 for neglect and delay of a client matter. He received the other two in 2007: one for neglecting an appeal in violation of rules 32:1.1 and 32:1.3 and the other for failing to promptly return money in 7 violation of rules 32:1.5(c), 32:1.15(d), and 32:1.16(d). In Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board v. Smith, an attorney’s three prior private admonitions for neglect, failing to cooperate, and ignoring client inquiries were aggravating because they put the attorney on notice that her current conduct related to trust accounting was unacceptable.”

The complainant’s amended response continues:

“The ultimate problem—and the reason why a 60-day suspension is warranted here—is that Parrish’s laissez-faire attitude toward his bookkeeping has resulted in a near-complete lack of accountability for the funds remaining in his CTA. Information from Parrish was so lacking that the auditor was unable to determine or reconstruct what amount belonged to each client.

Based on the affidavit presented by the Grievance Commission and the subsequent response provided by the Board, the Supreme Court of Iowa reached the decision to suspend Parrish from practicing law.

The Disposition states:

“Accordingly, pursuant to Iowa Court Rule 34.16 (3), the court orders that Wallace D. Parrish’s license to practice law in this state is suspended for a period of 60 days.”

Mr. Parrish practices in Waterloo, Iowa. He is licensed in Iowa. His info can be found on martindale.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.