SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — Riverside attorney Keith Alan Kelly faces disbarment by default following a California State Bar Court recommendation over multiple counts of misconduct in a single client matter.
"The court recommends that respondent Keith Alan Kelly be disbarred from the practice of law in the state of California and that his name be stricken from the roll of attorneys," said the eight-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued July 3 by the state bar court.
Kelly was charged with five counts of misconduct, including one count each of improper withdrawal of employment and failing to refund unearned fees, both of which the state bar court dismissed with prejudice. The court found Kelly willfully failed to render appropriate accounts of client funds, to communicate with his client and to cooperate or participate in a disciplinary investigation, according to the decision and order.
Two disciplinary investigations pending against Kelly, who did not appear for his trial in March, and the state bar's client security fund has no claims as a result of his alleged misconduct.
Kelly failed to participate in person or via counsel and state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default. In such cases, in which 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 state bar court's recommendation included an involuntary inactive enrollment order that rendered Kelly involuntarily enrolled as an inactive member of the State Bar of California. That order was effective three calendar days after service, according to the recommendation.
The state bar's recommendation is pending final action by the California Supreme Court, an appeal before the state bar's review department or expiration of time in which parties can request further review within the state bar court.
Kelly's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for July.
Kelly was admitted to the bar in California on Nov. 27, 2000, according to his profile at the state bar website. Kelly has no prior history of discipline before the state bar, according to the decision and order.