Northern California Record

Thursday, November 21, 2019

San Diego attorney faces suspension, probation after maintaining only personal funds in client account

Discipline

By Karen Kidd | Aug 19, 2019

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SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — Longtime San Diego attorney Luke Christopher Zouvas faces suspension and probation following a July 11 California Supreme Court order for allegedly maintaining personal funds in his client trust account (CTA), according to a recent State Bar of California announcement and court documents.

The Supreme Court handed down a stayed one-year suspension and a year of conditional probation with the first 90 days spent on suspension. Conditions of Zouvas's probation include passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination as previously recommended by the California State Bar Court's hearing department. He also was ordered to pay costs.

His discipline became effective Aug. 10, according to an announcement recently posted on the state bar's website.

Zouvas was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 3, 2001, according to his profile at the state bar website. He had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to his profile.

Allegations against Zouvas stem from how he handled his client trust account, according to the stipulation filed with the state bar court in March.

"At all relevant times to the stipulated facts herein, [Zouvas] maintained only personal funds in the CTA," the stipulation said. "[Zouvas] did not maintain client funds in the CTA."

Between July 12, 2017, and Oct. 30, 2018, Zouvas issued 161 payments, the highest being $1,326 to purchase gym equipment and the lowest $2.53 to Amazon Marketplace, from his client trust account to cover personal expenses, according to the stipulation.

Zouvas did not misappropriate any client funds, according to the stipulation. "[Zouvas], therefore, did not harm a client, the public or the administration of justice," the stipulation said.  

His otherwise discipline-free record and agreeing to the stipulation were considered mitigating factors in the disciplinary proceeding against Zouvas, according to the stipulation.

"By entering into this stipulation, [Zouvas] has acknowledged misconduct and is entitled to mitigation for recognition of wrongdoing and saving the State Bar significant resources and time," the stipulation said.

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