Mason Attorney Suspended
Kept Practicing Law for Six Years During Ongoing Suspensions
A Mason attorney who continued to serve as legal counsel for a company after being suspended for not paying his attorney registration fee and not meeting his continuing legal education (CLE) requirements has been suspended from the practice of law today for 24 months, with six months stayed on conditions, by the Ohio Supreme Court.
In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled that David E. Troller failed to comply with the duties of a suspended attorney, continued to practice law for six years while his license was suspended, and engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law.
From 2002 to 2012, Troller was chief legal officer and secretary for Clopay Corporation. In December 2005, the Supreme Court suspended Troller because he did not pay his attorney registration fee for the 2005-2007 biennium. The suspension prohibited him from providing legal advice or performing legal services. In May 2006, the court ordered another suspension because Troller did not meet his CLE requirements for 2003-2004 and also failed to pay a penalty for not meeting his education requirements for 2001-2002.
The state’s Disciplinary Counsel, which filed the charges in this case, and Troller agreed during the disciplinary proceedings that he improperly held himself out as a lawyer and practiced law for six years while under suspension by working with outside counsel on pending cases, negotiating and drafting contracts for the company, and advising human resources staff about employee firings.
In its per curiam (not authored by a specific justice) opinion today, the court held that Troller is unlikely to be a danger to the public going forward because the legal advice he provided during his CLE and registration suspensions was limited to his work within the company. He also cooperated during the disciplinary process, agreed that he committed the misconduct, and stopped providing legal advice at the company when he was notified of the investigation.
The court determined that the appropriate sanction for Troller is a two-year suspension with six months stayed on several conditions, including that he extend his contract with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program for treatment for anxiety and pay all outstanding registration fees within 30 days.
Joining the court’s majority were Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Judith Ann Lanzinger, Sharon L. Kennedy, and William M. O’Neill.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Terrence O’Donnell and Judith L. French dissented, stating that they would impose a full two-year suspension.
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