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In re Petition for Reinstatement of Edward F. Rooney: ETHICS - reinstatement on probation

In re Petition for Reinstatement of Edward F. Rooney,
a Minnesota attorney, Registration No. 9321X.
On February 16, 2006, we suspended petitioner Edward F. Rooney from the
practice of law for a period of 18 months for misappropriation of client funds totaling
,700. In re Rooney, 709 N.W.2d 263, 266 (Minn. 2006). Petitioner applied for
reinstatement in April 2007, and a hearing was held before a panel of the Lawyers
Professional Responsibility Board. The panel found that petitioner has proven by clear
and convincing evidence that he is competent and morally fit to resume the practice of
law. See In re Swanson, 343 N.W.2d 662, 664 (Minn. 1984) (providing that the burden is
on the attorney to establish by clear and convincing evidence the moral fitness to resume
the practice of law). The Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility
confirms that petitioner has complied with Rule 26, Rules on Lawyers Professional
Responsibility (RLPR), paid costs under Rule 24, RLPR, successfully completed the
professional responsibility portion of the bar examination, and is current with continuing
legal education requirements. The panel recommended that petitioner be reinstated to the
practice of law and be placed on probation for three years, subject to the following
(a) Petitioner shall cooperate fully with the Directors Office in its
efforts to monitor compliance with this probation and shall promptly
respond to the Directors correspondence by the due date. Petitioner shall
cooperate with the Directors investigation of any allegations of
unprofessional conduct which may come to the Directors attention. Upon
the Directors request, petitioner shall provide authorization for release of
information and documentation to verify compliance with the terms of this
(b) Petitioner shall abide by the Minnesota Rules of Professional
(c) Petitioner shall be supervised by a licensed Minnesota attorney,
appointed by the Director to monitor compliance with the terms of his
probation. Petitioner shall provide to the Director the names of four
attorneys who have agreed to be nominated as his supervisor within two
weeks from the date this probation begins. If, after diligent effort,
petitioner is unable to locate a supervisor acceptable to the Director, the
Director will seek to appoint a supervisor. Petitioner shall not accept any
client cases until a supervisor has signed a consent to supervise. Petitioner
shall on the first day of each month provide his supervisor with an
inventory of active client files described in paragraph (d) below. Petitioner
shall make active client files available to the Director upon request.
(d) Petitioner shall cooperate fully with the supervisor in his efforts to
monitor compliance with this probation. Petitioner shall contact the
supervisor and schedule a minimum of one in-person meeting per calendar
quarter. Petitioner shall submit to the supervisor an inventory of all active
client files by the first day of each month during the probation. With
respect to each active client file, the inventory shall disclose the client
name, type of representation, date opened, most recent activity, date of
most recent activity, next anticipated action, and anticipated closing date.
Petitioners supervisor shall file written reports with the Director at least
quarterly, or at such more frequent intervals as may reasonably be
requested by the Director. Petitioners supervisor shall review with
petitioner the economic viability of matters undertaken by petitioner to
ensure that the representation undertaken will not, together with other
matters already undertaken, result in undue financial stress on petitioners
(e) Petitioner shall initiate and maintain office procedures that ensure
that there are prompt responses to correspondence, telephone calls, and
other important communications from clients, courts, and other persons
interested in matters that petitioner is handling, and that will ensure that
petitioner regularly reviews each and every file and completes legal matters
on a timely basis.
(f) Within 30 days from the commencement of probation, petitioner
shall provide to the Director and to the probation supervisor a written plan
outlining office procedures designed to ensure that petitioner is in
compliance with probation requirements. Petitioner shall provide progress
reports to the supervisor and/or the Director as requested.
(g) Petitioner is permanently prohibited from maintaining a law office
trust account solely in his name. Before accepting any cases requiring
client or third party funds to be deposited into a trust account, petitioner
shall submit to the Director the names of three alternate signatories, to be
approved by the Director, together with the name of an attorney who shall
serve as petitioners trust account supervisor.
(h) Petitioner may have up to three additional attorney signatories on
any client trust account he maintains in connection with his law practice.
(i) Each disbursement from a client trust account must be signed and/or
authorized by petitioner and one other alternate signatory.
(j) At least one of the signatories, upon approval by the Director, must
accept responsibility for supervision of petitioners trust account. That is,
one signatory will be designated to perform at least quarterly reviews of
petitioners trust account books and records, including petitioners deposits,
disbursements, checkbook register, client subsidiary ledgers, and
reconciliations. This person will have full access to all retainer agreements
and underlying client files and will be charged with ensuring that all funds
received by petitioner on behalf of clients or third parties are properly
deposited in a trust account and that disbursements from the trust
account(s) are appropriately made.
(k) The person responsible for supervising the maintenance of
petitioners trust account books and records may charge a fee for services
(l) Petitioners wife shall not serve as a trust account supervisor or
alternate signatory.
(m) The requirements of paragraphs (g) through (l) shall survive the term
of petitioners probation.
The court has independently reviewed the file and approves the panels
Based upon all the files, records and proceedings herein,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, effective immediately, petitioner Edward F.
Rooney is reinstated to the practice of law and is placed on probation for a period of three
years subject to the terms and conditions set forth above.
Dated: December 20, 2007
Helen M. Meyer
Associate Justice


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