JEFFERSON CITY — The Supreme Court of Missouri, at the behest of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel, has ruled to suspend attorney Teresa M. Coyle from the practice of law.
The decision issued in Supreme Court Case No. SC96017 came as a result of the attorney’s alleged involvement with Critique Services LLC, a bankruptcy firm currently under fire in the state.
Coyle will be suspended for one year, according to a Missouri Lawyers Weekly article. Coyle is not the only attorney connected with Critique Services who has been disciplined. Dean D. Meriwether and James C. Robinson were also suspended in separate cases, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The operations of Critique Services were referred to as “a massive rip-off” by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Charles E. Rendlen III, who suspended Meriwether, according to the Post-Dispatch. The firm allegedly used contracted lawyers to represent financially strapped clients in bankruptcy filings in which little to no assets were listed. The attorneys would then “all but abandon” their clients by failing to file documents, the result of which would often mean more issues for their customers who were already burdened.
Following the ruling of suspension, Coyle must comply with Rule 5.27 of the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct. Coyle is unable to accept any new retainers for services or act as a lawyer in any new cases. She will need to withdraw from any pending litigation and notify all current clients and necessary counselors of her status. Her lawyer’s license will need to be submitted to the Supreme Court Clerk within 15 days of the ruling, and she will also need to return any unearned fees. Lastly, she must notify any opposing counsel in any pending matters of the ruling.
Critique Services average fees were reported by the Post-Dispatch as $296.23, and in 2013 the firm assisted in over 1,000 client matters.