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Attorney voluntarily surrenders license

The Missouri Supreme Court en banc accepted a Kansas City attorney’s petition to voluntarily surrender her license to practice law on Dec. 20.

Rebecca Jane Martin’s license was first suspended for failing to pay taxes on Sept. 28, 2021, and her suspension was effective 15 days later. She was required to withdraw from any pending cases and notify clients and co-counsel. According to court records, Martin had petitioned for reinstatement on Oct. 6 and voluntarily dismissed her petition a day after her suspension was made effective.

According to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s 2022 report and recommendation, Martin tried to participate in a mediation and in settlement negotiations while she was suspended. Martin appeared for an Oct. 27 mediation that was not scheduled to be attorney-assisted and questioned an opposing party without their attorney present. A day later she appeared for a Clay County case along with two attorneys taking on the client’s representation, and she met with the client alone in a witness room and tried to discuss issues with a guardian ad litem.

She also failed to notify multiple clients of her suspension while accepting advance fees, and multiple clients did not discover the suspension until the day of a hearing, conference or trial.

Between the notification of her suspension and her actual suspension, Martin also was preparing for an Oct. 13, 2021 pre-trial conference in a pending Jackson County case. Martin requested money from her client for work she would be completing in preparation for an Oct. 13, 2021 pre-trial conference and did not notify the client of her suspension and that a colleague would be filling in for her until right before the conference. She also failed to timely provide case-related materials, including a house deed, to the client.

An audit of Martin’s trust account bank records also determined that she had mixed personal funds and client funds in 2020. She had used up a majority of a $2,500 retainer in her trust account by November 2021 and failed to reimburse the client for the unearned funds. She also made cash withdrawals from the trust account, which is restricted to check withdrawals. She also accepted a $1,000 advance fee after being notified of an incoming suspension and withdrew funds in the days following her suspension.

According to the OCDC report, Martin also failed to respond to complaints against her.

In Oct. 2022, with David R. Smith of Kansas City as counsel, Martin petitioned for a voluntary surrender. Smith did not respond to a call requesting comment. The Oct. 5 application for voluntary surrender cited mental health problems that have risen to a permanent disability that prevents her from practicing law.

“While no hearing has been held, Applicant has considered the possible evidence that could be brought against her and does not wish to contest the charges against her,” the application stated.

Martin was first licensed to practice law in Missouri in 2007. She earned her law degree from the University of Kansas in 2006.

The case is In Re: Rebecca Jane Martin, SC9936 and SC99810.


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