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Sheridan Attorney Suspended From Practice of Law

CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Supreme Court today issued an order suspending Sheridan lawyer Clay B. Jenkins from the practice of law for a period of one year commencing May 10, 2013.

During 2012, one of Jenkins' clients submitted a complaint to Bar Counsel, which stemmed from a divorce action in which Jenkins neglected to obtain in the divorce decree a share of the retirement account that had accumulated during the client’s marriage. The error resulted in $35,000 not being received by Jenkins' client in the divorce. When initially raised by the client, Jenkins acknowledged his mistake and agreed to reimburse the client out of his own pocket. When Jenkins failed to make good on that promise, the client filed a complaint with Bar Counsel. In response to the disciplinary complaint, Jenkins paid the $35,000 to the client as restitution for his negligence in the divorce proceeding.

As the disciplinary process proceeded, Jenkins began to exhibit substance abuse problems. Jenkins, who has a history of substance abuse, sought inpatient treatment, but was then arrested for driving under the influence while returning home after treatment. Jenkins missed court appearances on behalf of clients. Local judges complained to Bar Counsel. When Jenkins appeared in court in an impaired condition, the judge ordered Jenkins jailed and notified Bar Counsel. Bar Counsel filed a petition for Jenkins' interim suspension with the Wyoming Supreme Court. Respondent did not resist the petition, which was granted effective May 10, 2013.

In the formal disciplinary proceeding that followed the interim suspension, Jenkins admitted that his conduct violated Rules 1.1 (competence), 1.3 (diligence), 1.4 (communication with clients), and 8.4(b) (committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s fitness to practice) of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct. Jenkins stipulated to a one-year suspension. The Board of Professional Responsibility recommended the suspension to run from May 10, 2013. The Supreme Court approved the Board's recommendation, and assessed a $500 administrative fee.