Illinois attorney reciprocally disciplined in Missouri following trust account allegations

By Karen Kidd | Jan 2, 2019

JEFFERSON CITY (St. Louis Record) — Attorney Babette Pauline Salus of Springfield, Illinois, has been reciprocally suspended following a Dec. 27 Missouri Supreme Court order after she was disciplined in Illinois for allegedly mishandling trust account funds.

The Missouri Supreme Court sustained the state chief disciplinary counsel motion for reciprocal discipline and suspended Salus with no leave to apply for reinstatement until a year after the court's order.

Salus did not respond to the Missouri Supreme Court's show cause order issued in November, according to the court's order. The Missouri high court also ordered Salus to pay costs.

Salus, admitted to the bar in Illinois in 1985, was suspended for one year and until further order following a September 2018 Illinois Supreme Court order, according to an Illinois State Bar Association announcement.  

"She failed to deposit security retainers into a client trust account and did not comply with a client's requests for a billing statement and for a status of the client's case," the Illinois bar announcement said. "After the client terminated her representation, she did not respond to the client's request for a refund of unearned fees or for a return of the client's file. She also made false representations to the [Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission] to impede its disciplinary investigation into her misconduct."

The Illinois Supreme Court placed Salus on interim suspension in November 2017, following a hearing board's recommendation that she be suspended for one year and until further court order, according to an Illinois bar announcement at the time.

"The board concluded that she engaged in conduct involving neglect, failed to refund unearned fees, commingled client funds, and knowingly made a false statement to subvert an ARDC investigation," that announcement said.

During her hearing in March 2018, Salus told the Illinois board that she underwent cancer treatment from July 2014 through March 2015, which affected her ability to keep up with her caseload. Salus also told the board that she found the disciplinary process "extremely difficult" and "overwhelming" and the allegations against her "upsetting personally," but admitted it was no excuse for not responding during the state bar's inquiry.

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Organizations in this Story

Illinois State Bar Association Illinois Supreme Court Missouri Bar Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel Missouri Supreme Court

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