San Diego attorney faces disbarment, more than $31,000 restitution regarding alleged misconduct

By Karen Kidd | May 16, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) – San Diego attorney Steele Nicolson Gillaspey faces disbarment following an April 26 California Supreme Court order regarding 19 counts of alleged misconduct in three matters, according to a recent report by the State Bar of California and court documents.

The Supreme Court ordered Gillaspey's disbarment and for the attorney to pay more than $31,000 in restitution over allegations that included failure to account for fees and to report the more than $50,000 in sanctions against him.

The high court also ordered Gillaspey to pay costs.

Gillaspey's discipline will be effective May 26, according to a recent posting on the state bar's website.

Gillaspey was admitted to the bar in California on March 13, 1990, according to his profile on the state bar website. Gillaspey had no prior record of discipline, no other investigations or disciplinary matters are pending against him and the client security fund has paid no claims as a result of his alleged misconduct, according to the California State Bar Court's 11-page decision and order issued in December.

Gillaspey was alleged to have violated professional conduct rules, including those regarding competence and improper withdrawal and failures to communicate, respond promptly to status inquiries, render appropriate accounts to a client and refund unearned fees.

The state bar court's decision included an involuntary inactive enrollment order that rendered Gillaspey 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.

Gillaspey failed to participate in person or via counsel and the state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default. In such cases, in which an attorney fails to participate in a State Bar of California 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's entry for default was entered in August.

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