On Friday, November 18, 2022, The Fifth district Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar imposed a Public reprimand against Fairfax attorney Jon Franklin Mains alleging Commingling of funds, failure to safely keep property, and making false statements.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Jon Franklin Mains” and was brought by the 5th District Virginia State Bar Subcommittee. Case #22-051-125095.
The charges cited rules of professional conduct Rule 1.4(b), 1.5(e), 1.15(a)(3), 1.15(b)(5),1.15(c), 8.1(a) which states:
A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.
A division of a fee between lawyers who are not in the same firm may be made only if: (1) the client is advised of and consents to the participation of all the lawyers involved; (2) the terms of the division of the fee are disclosed to the client and the client consents thereto; (3) the total fee is reasonable; and (4) the division of fees and the client’s consent is obtained in advance of the rendering of legal services, preferably in writing
No funds belonging to the lawyer or law firm shall be deposited or maintained therein except as follows: (i) funds reasonably sufficient to pay service or other charges or fees imposed by the financial institution or to maintain a required minimum balance to avoid the imposition of service fees, provided the funds deposited are no more than necessary to do so; or (ii) funds in which two or more persons (one of whom may be the lawyer) claim an interest shall be held in the trust account until the dispute is resolved and there is an accounting and severance of their interests. Any portion finally determined to belong to the lawyer or law firm shall be withdrawn promptly from the trust account.
A lawyer shall not disburse funds or use the property of a client or of a third party with a valid lien or assignment without their consent or convert funds or property of a client or third party, except as directed by a tribunal.
A lawyer shall, at a minimum, maintain the following books and records demonstrating compliance with this Rule: (1) Receipts and disbursement journals for each trust account. These journals shall include, at a minimum: identification of the client or matter; date and amount of the transaction; the name of the payor or payee; the manner in which the funds were received, disbursed, or transferred, and the current balance. A checkbook or transaction register may be used in lieu of separate receipts and disbursement journals as long as the above information is included. (2) A client ledger with a separate record for each client, another person, or entity from whom money has been received in trust. Each entry shall include, at a minimum: identification of the client or matter; date and amount of the transaction; the name of the payor or payee; source of funds received or purpose of the disbursement; and current balance.
An applicant for admission to the bar, or a lawyer already admitted to the bar, in connection with a bar admission application, any certification required to be filed as a condition of maintaining or renewing a license to practice law, or in connection with a disciplinary matter, shall not: (a) knowingly make a false statement of material fact
The rules of professional conduct can be found here.
The filing states:
“Respondent executed a retainer agreement to represent Jean M. Antone (Client) for personal injuries sustained in an auto-pedestrian accident that occurred June 13, 2020. The respondent’s fee was 37% of the gross recovery of any settlement. Per the retainer agreement, Mary K. Astore holds a durable general power of attorney for the Client and executed the representation agreement on the Client’s behalf. Mary K. Astore’s husband, Marc Astore, Esq., referred Client’s personal injury case to Respondent.”
The filing continues:
“In January 2021, the liability carrier issued a $25,000 settlement check to Respondent. In February 2021, Respondent deposited the $25,000 settlement check into his IOLTA. By check dated February 11, 2021, from Respondent’s IOLTA, Respondent disbursed to Client $16,666.67 of the $25,000.00 as Client’s share of the settlement proceeds. On February 11, 2021, Respondent paid Marc Astore $1,666.67 from his IOLTA. This check was a portion of a total of $25,666.67 that Respondent paid to Marc Astore for referring Client to Respondent. Respondent did not then inform Client that he paid a fee to Mr. Astore. Respondent asserts that the funds paid from his IOLTA subsequent to receiving and depositing Client’s $25,000 settlement in his IOLTA were Respondent’s, not Client’s, funds. If the funds did not belong to Client, then they were the property of another client, unless Respondent was then commingling funds.”
The filing further alleges:
“Respondent’s disbursement sheet further reflects a total referral fee of $25,666.67 paid to Marc Astore, Esq. In his interview, Respondent told the bar investigator that the fees paid to Mr. Astore was for services rendered. This statement was not accurate and contradicted Respondent’s earlier statements to the bar in his response to the bar complaint and his records. On February 11, 2022, as a result of the presentment of the $16,305.20 check to Medicare, an overdraft occurred in Respondent’s IOLTA resulting in a $10,323.42 shortage in the IOLTA.”
The filing additionally notes:
“In disbursing the $219,661.47 to Ms. Antone, Respondent mistakenly assumed that he still held in escrow Client’s share of the first $25,000 settlement check. However, Respondent disbursed $16,666.67 of the $25,000 to Client a year earlier. Respondent transferred $5,000 from his operating account into the IOLTA in order to cover the overdraft. As a result of and shortly after the overdraft, Respondent completed “Basics of Trust Accounting – Ethics Rules and Practical Recordkeeping Tips” for one credit of MCLE.”
Due to these facts and circumstances, the 5th District Subcommittee, of the Virginia State Bar decided to impose Public Reprimand on the respondent.
The Disposition states:
“Accordingly, having approved the Agreed Disposition, it is the decision of the Subcommittee to impose a Public Reprimand with Terms.”
As of today, Mr. Mains is listed on the website of the law firm Jon F. Mains & Associates LLC as a practicing attorney. He attended Washington College of Law, graduating in 1985. Mains practices in Fairfax, Virginia. His info can be found on LinkedIn.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.