Northern California Record

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Irvine attorney faces probation following alleged interest adverse to client

Discipline

By Karen Kidd | Jun 7, 2019

Court

SAN FRANCISCO – Longtime Irvine attorney Mark Daniel Holmes faces probation following a May 16 California Supreme Court order for allegedly acquiring an interest adverse to his client, according to a recent report issued by the State Bar of California and court documents.

Holmes was alleged to have acquired the adverse interest without advising his client to seek the advice from an independent attorney, according to the state bar's report.

In its May 16 order, the Supreme Court handed down a fully stayed one-year suspension and a year of probation. Conditions of Holmes' probation include passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.

Holmes' discipline will be effective Saturday, June 15, according to an announcement recently posted on the state bar's website.

Holmes was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 16, 1991, according to his profile at the state bar website. 

Allegations against Holmes stemmed from a dispute over real property in Highland in which Holmes was retained in October 2015 to represent his client in an unlawful detainer action the client previously filed, according to the stipulation filed with the State Bar Court in January. As part of addressing legal fees in the case, the client placed a deed of trust naming Holmes as a trustee and beneficiary of the Highland property.

Holmes allegedly executed and recorded the deed but did not advise his client in writing to that the client could seek the advice of an independent lawyer prior to execution and recording.

The client terminated Holmes' services in June of the following year and filed a complaint with the state bar in September 2017. Holmes conveyed the property back to his client in March of last year.

Despite holding lien on his client's property for almost two years, a violation of professional conduct rules, Holmes' alleged misconduct did not harm his client "because the property encumbered by the lien was also involved in litigation that spanned the length of the lien," the stipulation said. "Also, the terms of the transaction were neither unfair nor unreasonable to [his client], as the lien provided only for an amount sufficient to pay any outstanding legal fees that [his client] could not pay, and the lien had no value beyond that amount."

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State Bar of CaliforniaState Bar Court of California

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