Attorney: Christopher V. Vaughan
Bar membership: Member since 2001
Disciplinary action: Disbarred on Aug. 15
Background: In several instances Vaughan accepted fees from clients for traffic matters and then failed to appear on behalf of the clients in court. In these cases, Vaughan failed to timely respond to notices of mandatory fee dispute resolution and once he did respond to the notices, made false or misleading statements to the bar. In one case, Vaughan claimed to have refunded money to a client who had died, and did not respond to letters asking him to explain that discrepancy. In another case, Vaughan claimed to have paid the client’s reinstatement fee and gotten the charge dismissed when he had done neither. In multiple instances Vaughan had received fees from these clients but failed to deposit those fees into his client trust account.
Previous discipline: None
Attorney: Conan Lee Schwilm
Bar membership: Member since 1997
Disciplinary action: Suspended from the practice of law for two years on Aug. 15. The suspension was stayed for two years as long as Schwilm complies with the conditions of the stay.
Background: Schwilm engaged in sexual relations with a client he was representing. When the client signed the initial representation agreement, Schwilm was a solo practitioner. Shortly after Schwilm engaged in sexual relations with the client, he had her sign a new representation agreement with his law firm, Schwilm and Lezman. Although he had taken these steps to make it appear as if he was no longer representing the client, Schwilm refused to withdraw from the client’s case and continued to be involved with representing her. The client later expressed dissatisfaction with Schwilm’s handling of her legal matters.
Previous discipline: Schwilm was admonished in 2001 for including misleading information in an advertisement and admonished in 2003 for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition for a client who was not eligible for such relief.
All information contained in the Bar Discipline Roundup is compiled from reports provided by the North Carolina State Bar and edited by staff writer David Donovan. He can be reached at [email protected]