Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board hearing panel recommends partially deferred suspension for Mandeville attorney Christine Y. Voelkel

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Attorney Voelkel caught the state bar's attention through random auditing of client trust accounts where the numbers were not adding up. What a shocker.

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board hearing panel recommends partially deferred suspension for Mandeville attorney Christine Y. Voelkel

NEW ORLEANS — Mandeville attorney Christine Y. Voelkel faces a possible partially deferred suspension following a recommendation issued May 8 by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee over multiple counts of professional conduct rules violations.

LADB Hearing Committee No. 62 recommended Voelkel be suspended for one year with all but 60 days deferred, according to the committee's eight-page recommendation. Conditions recommended by the committee included regular quarterly audits of Voelkel's Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and that she attend the Louisiana State Bar Association's ethics school and trust accounting program.

"[Voelkel] negligently violated duties owed to the legal profession," the hearing committee's recommendation said. "There is no evidence that [Voelkel]'s misconduct caused actual harm to clients. However, the misconduct in question, particularly the filing of pleadings while ineligible, could foreseeably cause potential harm."

The report was signed May 7 by committee chairman Mark J. Mansfield.

Voelkel was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 15, 2004, according to her profile at the state bar's website.

In the three counts filed against her, Voelkel was alleged to have filed several pleadings when she was ineligible to practice law, jeopardized the legal cause of a client and that an overdraft notice was reported on her client trust account in June 2016.

Formal charges were filed by the office of disciplinary counsel against Voelkel in December 2016 and she filed an answer to those charges the following September. Hearing in the matter was held this past February, at which Voelkel did not appear.

The hearing committee found Voelkel violated professional conduct rules, including failures in her continuing legal education requirements, to safe keep property, diligence in representation, communication with a client and cooperation with an office of disciplinary counsel investigation.

In a separate action this past January, LADB Hearing Committee No. 15 recommended Voelkel receive a fully deferred one-year suspension and that she be placed on two years' probation for two years after an overdraft was reported on her IOLTA. Voelkel also failed to respond to the office of disciplinary counsel when it asked for an explanation about the overdraft, according to the January hearing committee recommendation.

Source: Louisiana Record