Missouri Supreme Court reprimands, reinstates attorneys

By Olivia Olsen | Jun 2, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY — The Supreme Court of Missouri recently issued reprimands for two Missouri Bar-registered lawyers and reinstated the licenses of two others. 

Independence judge Garry Helm, was publicly reprimanded. The judge was charged with failing to comply with the law, failure to promote confidence in the judiciary and failing to avoid abusing the office of the judiciary, according to court documents He also was found to be in violation of ex parte communications guidelines. Helm was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1983 and is in good standing.

Richard Haitbrink of Shawnee Mission, Kansas, received reciprocal reprimand. The attorney is licensed to practice in Kansas, where he allegedly committed acts of misconduct and received his original reprimand. Haitbrink was deemed culpable in failing to communicate with his client, making an agreement to restrict his liability in a malpractice suit, failing to keep safe client property in his client trust account, failing to properly terminate his representation and failing to adequately advise his client. Haitbrink is in good standing in Missouri and Kansas. He was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1968 and the Kansas Bar in 1966. 

Additionally, the reinstatement of the two attorneys was the result of their successful completion of probation from prior disciplinary orders.

John J. Allan, a malpractice attorney in St. Louis, has been reinstated to practice. The attorney had been placed on a two-year suspension following his successful petition to be reinstated. The probationary period was part of a larger disciplinary order from October 2013. Allan was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1974 and is now in good standing.

The court terminated probation for Lee’s Summit attorney Michelle Higinbotham. Higinbotham, who was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1997, had been placed on a two-year probation in March 2015 for commingling funds in her client trust account and using the trust to pay for personal expenses. The attorney’s license is now in good standing. 

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