St. Louis attorney indefinitely suspended for allegedly forging notary attestation

By Karen Kidd | Nov 21, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY — St. Louis attorney Mary L. Lemp has been indefinitely suspended following a Nov. 20 Missouri Supreme Court order over allegations she forged a notary's signature blocks on motions for time extension filed with the state court of appeals.

The high court gave Lemp no leave to apply for reinstatement for six months from the date of the court's order. Lemp also was ordered to pay $1,000 to the Advisory Committee Fund and all costs in the matter.

Lemp is of counsel with the McAllister Law Firm in St. Louis and also is licensed to practice in Illinois, according to her profile at the firm's website.

Allegations against Lemp stem from her 2015 and 2016 representation of a litigant before the state's court of appeals, according to Lemp's redacted brief and that of the chief disciplinary counsel filed with the high court. Lemp was alleged to have forged notarial attestations on court documents April 2016 and she later admitted to copying and pasting the attestations from a properly attested document filed about nine months before.

"This is not a case where [Lemp] was negligent in determining whether the statements filed with the court were false," the office of chief disciplinary counsel said in its brief. "Rather, [Lemp] personally drafted the false documents and then filed them with the court of appeals three times."

In her brief, Lemp claimed to have been suffering from a mental disorder resulting from "very serious injuries" from a 2014 automobile accident and was "on potent prescription drugs treating those injuries" when she forged the notarial attestations. Lemp also admitted she did not have an independent medical examination performed to back up her claim but also said the office of chief disciplinary counsel did not request such an examination.

A disciplinary hearing panel sustained the chief disciplinary counsel's objection to admitting Lemp's medical records and testimony and ultimately found she violated professional conduct rules regarding candor toward a tribunal and other misconduct. The hearing panel made no findings about aggravating or mitigating factors.

The office of disciplinary counsel recommended Lemp be suspended but Lemp asked that any suspension be stayed.

Lemp, admitted to the bar in Missouri on Sept. 15, 2010, had no prior history of discipline in Missouri, according to both briefs.

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Organizations in this Story

McAllister Law Firm LLC Missouri Bar Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel Missouri Supreme Court

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