The Utah Supreme Court has disbarred Salt Lake lawyer Lynn Charles Spafford over allegations that he mishandled thousands of dollars of his clients' money.
Spafford, 38, is banned from working in any capacity in a law office - as a paralegal, law clerk or legal assistant - the court said in an order signed Monday.He is required to disclose - under oath - every person who has a claim against him for conversion of funds, and the monetary amount of the claim.
And Spafford must serve the standard five-year time period away from the practice of law before he can reapply to the Utah State Bar. Before he can be readmitted, he will have to prove all clients have been repaid.
"That means 100 cents on the dollar plus interest," said Alan Barber, the bar attorney who prosecuted Spafford's discipline cases. While a special bar fund can offer limited restitution, he said, "the lion's share will have to come from Spafford."
Spafford had offered his resignation to the state's highest court in December while six discipline cases were pending against him. In exchange for the voluntary resignation, he wanted permission to reapply to the bar in 24 months.
The bar strenuously objected, pointing to 11 other complaints from clients, another attorney and a doctor, which had not yet been filed in court. After the Supreme Court rejected Spafford's 24-month proposal, he again offered to resign and serve the usual five years.
The court accepted Spafford's second offer, making it retroactively effective to August 1994.
Spafford was admitted to the bar in 1984 and had served as managing partner in a firm with his father. He could not be reached for comment Saturday. He now has "other employment," said his father, Earl Spafford.
"It's just a closed chapter in his life," the elder Spafford said.
In the first six cases, Spafford was accused of giving clients about $120,000 in bad checks. Some clients said he settled cases without their permission or forged their signatures on settlement checks.
The second spate of complaints was similar.
Spafford admitted losing track of clients' money, but denied forging signatures or failing to communicate with clients.