Eviction lawyer used client trusts to pay mortgage


EVERETT – A lawyer practicing in Everett was disqualified from attorney for having withdrawn thousands of dollars from a client’s trust account to pay off a mortgage and for showing indifference to payment of money, among other financial misconduct.

Brian Reed, 45, from Freeland has primarily represented homeowners in eviction and other landlord and landlord matters. He worked as a lawyer in Washington for nearly 20 years, and in 2020 spoke out openly about his opposition to a statewide eviction moratorium.

From 2015 to 2018, Reed violated the State’s Code of Professional Conduct by withdrawing money from his client’s trust account at Chase Bank for personal use, according to his termination notice released last week by the state bar. A lawyer must maintain a trust account when holding money on behalf of clients or third parties to ensure that the trust is separate from the lawyer’s personal finances.

During those three years, Reed has withdrawn more money from the client’s trust account than he deposited on it. At the bar, it was revealed that he did not keep the records required for the account, and when he did, they were often incorrect.

On July 2, 2018, Reed attempted to transfer $ 300 from a client’s trust account to his business account. The transfer was canceled by the bank due to insufficient funds. Under the state law, attorneys must report any overdrafts in clients’ trust accounts and give explanations to the Washington State Bar. I didn’t read it.

Instead, he started depositing his own money to fund the account. He didn’t do it fast enough, and as of December 11, 2018, the account had less than $ 12,000.

On July 12, 2018, the State Bar Association’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel sent a letter requesting an explanation for the overdraft, a statement of how it was corrected, and entries for the client’s trust account dated two months earlier.

Reed requested an extension until August 31, 2018. He missed the deadline.

In October 2018, Reed was served with a subpoena by the State Bar to appear for questioning. That same month, Reed hired another lawyer to recover the client’s trust account records.

On his testimony, Reed reportedly told disciplinary staff that he felt “burdened by the demands of (his) legal practice and family. a life, ”And that his situation was the cause of financial misconduct.

He reportedly added that he was under stress, exacerbated by family problems and financial difficulties, according to court documents.

The Disciplinary Board of the State Bar noted aggravating circumstances in the decision to deprive Reed of the Bar: systematic misconduct, multiple offenses and “indifference” to the payment of restitution.

Reed had to pay clients thousands of dollars, although the exact amount of the remaining debt was not disclosed in disciplinary documents.

The lawyer had no previous information about the misconduct.

Prior to being stripped of his lawyer status, Reed publicly voiced his opposition to the statewide eviction moratorium, speaking to reporters from KING 5 and post to your law firm facebook page

According to him, the moratorium turned the landlords into “economic hostages.”

On Reed’s website, the information page said, “Brian appreciates and respects that for landlords, owning a rental property is part of their American Dream. Brian is proud to be a knowledgeable and accessible resource for property owners and managers looking to protect and maximize their bottom line. ”

Court records show that Reed was still practicing law last month, weeks before he was stripped of his lawyer status in late June.

In a phone call, Reed declined to comment on a reporter for the Daily Herald. His law firm’s website was shut down shortly after the board sent out a notice stating that he could no longer practice.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen

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