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State Supreme Court reinstates two attorneys

Jessica Shumaker//September 4, 2018//

State Supreme Court reinstates two attorneys

Jessica Shumaker//September 4, 2018//

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The Missouri Supreme Court has reinstated the law licenses of a Kansas City attorney who was disbarred 11 years ago and a Nevada attorney, formerly of Jefferson City, whose license was suspended five years ago.

On Aug. 21, the court reinstated the licenses of Roderick E. Smith, of Kansas City, and Georgia A. Mathers, who formerly lived in Jefferson City but now resides in Reno, Nevada. Each was reinstated with three years of probation.

Smith was admitted to the bar in 1995. He initially had a solo practice in Kansas City, practicing criminal law, family law and personal-injury law, according to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s report in the case.

He joined the firm of Fulcher, LaSalle, Brooks, Smith & Daniels in 2004. One year later, his partners expelled him from the firm.

The Missouri Supreme Court placed him on an interim suspension in 2006. Prior to the suspension, he’d received 10 admonitions involving diligence, communication, unreasonable fees and trust-accounting issues.

According to OCDC, Smith at one point faced accusations of theft for failing to provide agreed-upon legal services to a client in Texas after the client paid him $11,000. He was charged with felony theft, but a prosecutor later dropped the charges after Smith’s former firm and the Client Security Fund partially reimbursed the client.

He was disbarred in May 2007. The Missouri Supreme Court found he’d violated rules regarding competency, diligence, unreasonable fees, failing to expedite litigation, candor towards a tribunal, trust accounting, declining or terminating representation and failing to respond to a request for information from OCDC.

He last attempted to reinstate his license in 2014. At the time, OCDC recommended against reinstatement, finding Smith had not taken responsibility for his actions or shown he would abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct if reinstated.

In reviewing his recent application for reinstatement, OCDC changed its stance to recommend reinstatement. The office found he’d made progress by taking responsibility for his actions and showing a better understanding of what is needed to run a successful practice.

Smith also told OCDC he may not re-enter the practice of law if his license is reinstated but instead may apply for a security broker’s license in order to become a financial advisor. He previously was blocked from obtaining a license because he’d been disbarred.

Smith did not respond to a request for comment.

Court records show the Missouri Supreme Court suspended Mathers’ license in 2013 for two years for trust-account violations. She was working as a solo attorney at the time but had spent most of her career as a public defender. OCDC filings said her problems stemmed from health issues and a lack of experience operating a solo practice.

In her application for reinstatement, Mathers said she “has been humbled by this Court’s actions and will never again place her law license in jeopardy.”

“I’m truly sorry I brought dishonor to the Court and the legal profession,” she wrote.

Mathers told the court she does not plan to return to Missouri to practice law, but she intends to seek employment as a public defender in either Nevada or California. In order to do that, she said she needed to have her Missouri license reinstated.

The cases are In Re: Roderick E. Smith, SC95646, and In Re: Georgia A. Mathers, SC96237.

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