JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — St. Louis attorney Dara M. Strickland was
disbarred by the Missouri Supreme Court at the behest of the Missouri
Bar’s Chief Disciplinary Counsel on Feb. 28.
Her name will be stricken from the list of attorneys in Missouri,
and she will not be allowed to practice law in the state, according
to a news
Strickland had been investigated for various acts of misconduct
and violations of the Missouri Rules of Professional Code.
According to the Supreme Court ruling, Strickland allegedly
violated Rule 4-1.3, which states that a lawyer should act with
reasonable diligence and promptness when representing a client, and
Rule 4-1.4, stating that a lawyer should keep the client reasonably
informed on the status of the matter and promptly reply with
reasonable requests for information.
Strickland also violated several subsections of Rule 4-1.15, which
outlines the proper safekeeping of property practices including
failing to properly deposit funds into a client trust account, and
separating funds where two or more persons claim interests. Lastly,
the attorney violated both Rule 4-5.5 by practicing unauthorized law
outside her jurisdiction and Rule 4-8.1 by knowingly providing false
claims and information to the Bar or failing to disclose necessary
facts or failing to respond to a request for information.
Under Rule 5.13, the Supreme Court was required to send a notice
of the disciplinary proceedings to Strickland, who was given 30 days
to file a response. After the 30-day period ended with no
communication, a default response is entered. The recipient of the
notice then has 30 days to file against the default. The news release
said that Strickland failed to respond
in a timely manner.
Several former clients of Strickland wrote scathing reviews on
Avvo.com detailing the alleged misconduct and poor service they
encountered upon hiring the attorney. Of the five complaints
registered on the site, all of them state that Strickland was not
responsive to any requests and essentially disappeared before
completion of their cases.
Following the ruling, the attorney must comply with Rule 5.27 of
the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct. Strickland is unable to
accept any new retainers for services or act as a lawyer in any new
cases and will need to withdraw from any pending litigation and
notify all current clients and necessary counselors to her status.
The lawyer’s license will need to be submitted to the Supreme Court
clerk within 15 days of the ruling. Strickland will also need to
return any unearned fees and notify any opposing counsel of the
Strickland graduated from Washington University’s School of Law
in 2007, according to the Bar's website.
The Missouri Supreme Court is located in Jefferson City and was
established in 1821 as the highest court in the state. It is presided
over by seven
justices: Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge, Laura Denvir
Stith, Mary Rhodes Russell, Zei Fischer, George W. Draper III, and
Paul C. Wilson.
The seventh seat is currently vacant following the death
of Justice Richard Teiteiman.