La Jolla attorney disbarred following misconduct allegations

By Karen Kidd | Sep 24, 2017

La Jolla attorney Amy Lauren McDonald has been disbarred by the California State Bar over allegations involving three counts of misconduct in a single client matter, none of which she contested, according to a recent decision.

McDonald did not respond to state bar inquiries but the state bar court did not find her culpable on one of the counts against her, according to the seven-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued Aug. 10. The court did not find McDonald culpable of intentionally, repeatedly or recklessly failing to perform legal services with competence for her client, according to the decision and order. The court did find her culpable on the other two counts.

McDonald largely failed to participate in person or via counsel and state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default. In cases such as this, when an attorney fails to participate in a California State Bar disciplinary proceeding despite adequate notice and opportunity, the bar invokes Rule 5.85, which provides the procedure for the state bar to recommend an attorney’s disbarment.

The bar's decision is pending final action by the California Supreme Court, an appeal before the bar's Review Department or expiration of time in which parties to may request further review within the State Bar Court.

McDonald was admitted to the bar in California on June 26, 1998, according to her profile at the state bar's website. No previous disciplinary action against McDonald is listed on her profile page.

The state bar court found McDonald culpable of violating rules of professional conduct for allegedly constructively terminating employment as counsel to her client, failing to take any action on her client's behalf after Jan. 14, 2016, and not telling the client she was seeking to terminate employment.

The state bar filed its notice of disciplinary charges in October and made attempts to reach McDonald via telephone, email and snail mail into the following January, which failed, and soon after initiated default proceedings, according to the decision and order.

McDonald has not been eligible to practice law in California since Feb. 12 when she was ordered inactive after she failed to make a filing in the state bar's proceedings against her, according to information on her profile at the state bar's website.

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