The State of Michigan Attorney Discipline Board reports that Plymouth lawyer Michael L. Donaldson has received a 60-day suspension from the practice of law in Michigan, effective June 18, 2014.
Based on the stipulation of the parties, Attorney Discipline Board Tri-County Hearing Panel #15 found that Donaldson violated the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct regarding safekeeping property. Specifically, Donaldson held funds other than client or third person funds in an IOLTA account; failed to hold property of his clients or third persons separately from his own; and deposited his own funds into an IOLTA account in an amount more than reasonably necessary to pay financial institution service charges or fees or to obtain a waiver of service charges or fees. The panel ordered that Donaldson be suspended from the practice of law in Michigan for 60 days, and directed him to pay costs of $1,690.22.
An IOLTA account refers to an interest- or dividend-bearing account, as defined by the Michigan State Bar Foundation, at an eligible institution from which funds may be withdrawn upon request as soon as permitted by law. An IOLTA account shall include only client or third person funds that cannot earn income for the client or third person in excess of the costs incurred to secure such income while the funds are held.
Attorney Discipline Board records show that Donaldson also received a reprimand on April 11, 2007. In that matter, Donaldson entered a plea of no contest to the allegations that he violated the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct regarding competence, scope of representation, diligence and communication. Based on the agreement of the parties, Attorney Discipline Board Tri-County Hearing Panel #28 ordered that Donaldson be reprimanded, and directed him to pay costs of $817.66.