People v. Volk, No. 90SA234

Docket NºNo. 90SA234
Citation805 P.2d 1116
Case DateFebruary 25, 1991
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

Page 1116

805 P.2d 1116
The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Complainant,
v.
Marie T. VOLK, Attorney-Respondent.
No. 90SA234.
Supreme Court of Colorado,
En Banc.
Feb. 25, 1991.

Page 1117

Linda Donnelly, Disciplinary Counsel, John S. Gleason, Asst. Disciplinary Counsel, Denver, for complainant.

Alex Stephen Keller, Denver, for attorney-respondent.

PER CURIAM.

A hearing panel of the Supreme Court Grievance Committee unanimously approved the recommendation of the hearing board that the attorney-respondent receive a public censure for aiding nonlawyers in the unauthorized practice of law. The assistant disciplinary counsel has excepted to this recommendation as too lenient. We accept the recommendation of the panel that the respondent be publicly censured and assess her the costs of these proceedings.

I

The respondent was admitted to the bar of this court on May 19, 1982, is registered as an attorney upon this court's official records, and is subject to the jurisdiction of this court. C.R.C.P. 241.1(b).

The complaint filed by the assistant disciplinary counsel charged that the respondent violated DR 3-101(A) (a lawyer shall not aid a nonlawyer in the unauthorized practice of law); as well as DR 1-102(A)(1) (a lawyer shall not violate a disciplinary rule), and C.R.C.P. 241.6(1) (any act or omission which violates the Code of Professional Responsibility constitutes grounds for lawyer discipline). The respondent and the assistant disciplinary counsel entered into a joint unconditional stipulation of facts and admission of misconduct. In addition, the hearing board received exhibits, and listened to testimony presented by both sides on the issues of aggravating and mitigating factors. The board found that the following facts were established by clear and convincing evidence.

After receiving her license, the respondent practiced law in the public sector for four years, first as an assistant attorney general, then as an assistant county attorney. In 1988, the respondent began a solo private practice. In February or March of 1988, Charles J. Taylor, an insurance salesman and president of American National, Inc., hired the respondent to review "living trusts" sold to purchasers by nonlawyer sales representatives. Taylor is not a lawyer. This is not the first time that Taylor's living trusts have surfaced in a disciplinary proceeding before this court. See People v. Macy, 789 P.2d 188 (Colo.1990).

Between March and October of 1988, the respondent reviewed a number of living trusts for individuals at the request of American National, Taylor, and other nonlawyer sales representatives. The respondent considered the corporation to be her client, not the individual purchasers of the trusts. Based on what Taylor told her, the respondent believed that American National was an insurance company primarily serving customers in rural areas. The respondent thought that the living trusts she was to review were an ancillary service offered to the insurance company's customers. Taylor told the respondent that the living trusts had been prepared by an experienced attorney, Lloyd Macy, who had decided to retire. 1 Pursuant to a written agreement with Taylor, the respondent billed American National $50 for each trust she reviewed. She hoped and anticipated that she would be doing other legal work for the corporation. The respondent reviewed about twenty-five trusts for which she received approximately $850. Her final bill to American National was never paid.

Taylor hired a number of nonlawyer salesmen. The salesmen sold the trusts door-to-door and at senior citizen centers. A salesman would bring a...

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6 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • 12 Diciembre 2003
    ...not confer on an assignee of partial interest in an application the right to conduct the prosecution of an application); People v. Volk, 805 P.2d 1116, 1117 (Colo. 1991) (holding attorney suffered from conflict of interest for ``consider[ing] the corporation to be her client, not the indivi......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • 12 Diciembre 2003
    ...not confer on an assignee of partial interest in an application the right to conduct the prosecution of an application); People v. Volk, 805 P.2d 1116, 1117 (Colo. 1991) (holding attorney suffered from conflict of interest for ``consider[ing] the corporation to be her client, not the indivi......
  • Mid-America Living Trust Associates, Inc., In re, MID-AMERICA
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 20 Agosto 1996
    ...by Non-Attorney Promoters, 20 ACTEC [American College of Trusts and Estate Counsel] Notes 193, 193 (1994); see also People v. Volk, 805 P.2d 1116 (Colo.1991) ("The salesmen sold the trusts door-to-door and at senior citizen centers."). "The public, particularly senior citizen......
  • People v. Laden, No. 95SA96
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 17 Abril 1995
    ...law). II "The counseling and sale of living trusts by nonlawyers constitutes the unauthorized practice of law." People v. Volk, 805 P.2d 1116, 1118 (Colo.1991). People v. Cassidy, 884 P.2d 309, 311 (Colo.1994). See also Florida Bar Re Advisory Opinion--Nonlawyer Preparation of Liv......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 cases
  • Mid-America Living Trust Associates, Inc., In re, MID-AMERICA
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 20 Agosto 1996
    ...by Non-Attorney Promoters, 20 ACTEC [American College of Trusts and Estate Counsel] Notes 193, 193 (1994); see also People v. Volk, 805 P.2d 1116 (Colo.1991) ("The salesmen sold the trusts door-to-door and at senior citizen centers."). "The public, particularly senior citizen......
  • People v. Laden, No. 95SA96
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 17 Abril 1995
    ...law). II "The counseling and sale of living trusts by nonlawyers constitutes the unauthorized practice of law." People v. Volk, 805 P.2d 1116, 1118 (Colo.1991). People v. Cassidy, 884 P.2d 309, 311 (Colo.1994). See also Florida Bar Re Advisory Opinion--Nonlawyer Preparation of Liv......
  • Doe v. Condon, No. 25138.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 5 Junio 2000
    ...advice on legal matters. See, In Re 341 S.C. 27 Mid-America Living Trust Assoc. Inc., 927 S.W.2d 855 (Mo. banc 1996); People v. Volk, 805 P.2d 1116 (Colo.1991); Oregon State Bar v. John H. Miller & Co.[,235 Or. 341] 385 P.2d 181 (Or.1963). At the very least. Petitioner will implicitly a......
  • People v. Cassidy, No. 94SA293
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 7 Noviembre 1994
    ...with both. B The counseling and sale of living trusts by nonlawyers constitutes the unauthorized practice of law. People v. Volk, 805 P.2d 1116, 1118 (Colo.1991). See People ex rel. Dunbar v. Schmitt, 126 Colo. 546, 555, 251 P.2d 915, 920 (1952) (the creation and sale of trust documents by ......

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