SALEM – One of the longest practicing lawyers on the north coast has been disciplined by the State Board of Bar Overseers for decades of poor records in its client account.
And while the bulk of the money in Thomas Barrett's interest in the Eastern Bank Attorney's Trustee Account (IOLTA) was actually owed to him himself for fees he earned in cases, about $ 10,000 of the funds belong to him Individuals or organizations that may not have been identified, according to a summary of the BBO's findings.
In an agreement with the BBO (the state agency that oversees the behavior of lawyers in Massachusetts), Barrett was granted a three-month ban, which, according to a summary provided by the agency, was to be suspended for one year.
That means Barrett can continue to work as a lawyer, but must meet certain conditions, including completing a financial records management course and continuing efforts to identify everyone who owes money.
Barrett has been a Massachusetts lawyer since 1971 and has an office on Federal Street in Salem. This is the first disciplinary measure against him.
In their agreement, Barrett and the board agreed that the failure to properly reconcile the account goes back several decades.
The amounts owed to numerous customers were relatively small and in some cases nominal, the summary said. As of the date of the board's summary, $ 77,000 was refunded.
Barrett opened a new IOLTA account last year and meets all the requirements for keeping records, the summary said.
While problems with poor lawyer's records generally result in no more than a public referral, the board held the suspension on hold since Barrett was unable to identify the owners of approximately $ 10,000 in funds.
Court reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, [email protected] or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.