LOS ANGELES — The State Bar of California has suspended attorney
Donald William McVay from the practice of law for one year.
The Rancho Santa Fe attorney, who was admitted to the State Bar in
1982, was found culpable in three matters in which he practiced law
while under suspension. His suspension began Nov. 25, 2016, according
to the State Bar's website.
In one of the matters, according to court documents,
McVay was hired to “summarize a civil matter” for a client in
June 2011. In July of that year, the attorney was suspended from law
for failing to pay child support, though at the time he was no longer
working on the client’s case. However, in October, McVay emailed
the client to tell them he would refile paperwork despite being
suspended. During this time, the attorney collected thousands of
dollars in illegal fees. When the client complained to the bar, McVay
returned $15,760 to the client.
Also, the State Bar Court alleged that McVay falsely reported to
them on the status of his practice during his suspension. On July 29,
2014, McVay responded to an inquiry made by the Member Service Center
of the State Bar that he had not practiced law during the period in
which he had been suspended for failure to pay child support. McVay
signed a declaration and his suspension was ended in early 2015.
Immediately after the suspension was lifted, McVay represented a
client in a property matter. McVay directly corresponded with a
“represented party” despite the party’s attorney instructing
McVay to communicate solely through him, according to court
For mitigation, McVay had no previous incidents of discipline.
McVay will be placed on suspension by the State Bar for one year
with two years of probation, during which he will be required to
submit quarterly updates to the State Bar and report any changes in
his status within 10 days. In addition to the suspension, McVay must
take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
Failure to pass the exam or to follow any other conditions of the
probation will result in another two years of suspension without
McVay must comply with the California Rules of Court Rule 9.20
subsections (a) and (c) in accordance with his suspension. According
to courts.ca.gov, the rule
requires McVay to tell each of his clients about the ruling, provide
any papers deemed necessary to his clients for their cases, return
any remaining unearned fees, and let opposing counsel in any pending
litigation know about his disbarment. In addition, McVay will be
required to file with the clerk of the State Bar Court about his
compliance with his disbarment provisions.
To view court documents for all State Bar Court of California
cases, go online at calbar.ca.gov.