The Supreme Court of Tennessee on Tuesday publicly censured Maryville attorney Kimberly Diane Russell for working a divorce case while under administrative suspension, the court’s ethics board stated in a press release.
Russell, who works at Independence Title & Escrow Services off of High Street in downtown Maryville, accepted payment to prepare divorce papers, and did not enter a written fee agreement for the nonrefundable fee. Russell was under state suspension at the time because of a failure to fulfill requirements for continuing legal education.
Under state law, attorneys must complete at least 15 hours of legal education every year. Russell’s suspension in 2017 was one of seven meted out to Knoxville area attorneys who failed to comply. She was reinstated late that year.
The Board of Professional Responsibility filed a petition for discipline in May 2018.
According to the release, Russell entered a conditional guilty plea acknowledging violations of state conduct laws concerning unauthorized practice of law, communication, fees and misconduct.
It adds: “A Public Censure is a rebuke and warning to the attorney, but it does not affect the attorney’s ability to practice law.”
Russell now must engage a practice monitor at her own expense and meet with the monitor on a monthly basis to review basic office procedures. Russell also was ordered to pay the costs and expenses of the board.