On Thursday, August 24, 2023, attorney Leila Louise Hale received a public reprimand from the Supreme Court of Kentucky. This disciplinary action was a result of reciprocal discipline influenced by a prior disciplinary measure taken by the State of Nevada. The basis for the reprimand was Hale’s breach of safekeeping property rules and her failure to distribute the remaining settlement funds after her client terminated their association.
The case is entitled “Kentucky Bar Association v. Leila Louise Hale,” with case no. 2023-SC-0165-KB.
Initially, attorney Leila L. Hale faced censure from the State of Michigan Attorney Disciplinary Board due to her improper handling of a client’s assets, resulting in harm to the client. The board’s notification, dated June 30, 2023, asserted that Hale demonstrated negligence in the management of her client’s funds, ultimately leading to a prolonged period of restricted access to their monetary resources. This sequence of events originated from the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board’s issuance of a cautionary letter to Hale, addressing her violations of professional conduct regulations.
The report states:
“Following this discipline of the respondent in the state of Nevada, the Grievance Administrator filed a notice of reciprocal discipline against the respondent in the state of Michigan. Upon consideration, The Board issued an order on April 3, 2023, regarding the imposition of reciprocal discipline, instructing the parties to provide written notification within 21 days of receiving the order.”
While the State Bar in Nevada sought to assert additional breaches, the hearing panel disagreed. Following thorough examination, it was concurred that Hale, indeed committed the violations. However, due to the nature of the misconduct and pertinent considerations, a public reprimand was deemed suitable. The State Bar was required to furnish clear and convincing evidence for the alleged infractions; however, certain claims lacked substantial substantiation.
Hale was found to have transgressed rules concerning the proper safeguarding of client property and the appropriate conclusion of representation. However, claims of exerting pressure on clients to settle disputes and charging excessive fees were not substantiated. Upholding the hearing panel’s decision to administer a cautionary letter as the disciplinary action, various factors were taken into account, including Hale’s mental state and the adverse impact on clients. Notably, the most severe violation involved Hale’s negligent management of client assets, leading to tangible harm by depriving clients of funds for an extended period. As a consequence, the Supreme Court of Nevada imposed a public reprimand as the fitting disciplinary measure for Hale.
In relation to this, the Kentucky Bar Association (KBA) filed a petition for reciprocal discipline, invoking SCR 3.435. The court determined that identical reciprocal discipline was warranted. The court noted that Kentucky’s SCR 3.130(1.15) and SCR 3.130(1.16) are comparable to Nevada’s corresponding rules. An order requiring Hale to show cause for not entering reciprocal discipline was issued on April 14, 2023. However, Hale failed to respond to this order.
The Disposition states:
“Therefore, a reciprocal discipline order shall be entered under this jurisdiction pursuant to SCR 3.435(4), the Court Orders: 1.) A public reprimand shall be entered against Hale; 2.) In accordance with SCR 3.450, Hale shall pay all costs associated with these disciplinary proceedings against her, and for which execution may be issued from this Court upon finality of this Opinion and Order.”
According to LinkedIn, Ms. Hale is the founder of Hale Injury Law. She is a car accident attorney in Henderson, Nevada. She is licensed in Nevada as well as in Michigan, Idaho, and Arizona.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.