Carson lawyer suspended by high court
Carson City lawyer Pat Walsh was suspended Thursday from practicing law by the Nevada Supreme Court.
In an order signed by all seven members of the high court, Walsh was suspended for six months and one day for failing to follow the court’s orders issued at a January 2003 disciplinary hearing.
For suspensions of six months or less, reinstatement to practice law in Nevada is automatic. The extra day added by the court means Walsh will have to appear and ask the court for reinstatement.
In the 2003 case, Walsh was accused of not properly handling a client’s divorce case, refusing to return the client’s calls, and refusing to respond to the bar disciplinary panel when it was investigating.
The interim decision issued by the bar imposed conditions, including counseling from a professional certified in drug and alcohol abuse.
The high court order comes on the heels of Walsh’s arrest on contempt charges in July after he appeared in Carson Justice Court to defend a client while legally drunk.
Justice of the Peace John Tatro had him jailed after a preliminary breath test showed he had more than double the legal limit of alcohol in his system.
Walsh, 56, spent more than nine hours in jail before Tatro authorized his release.
That apparently prompted the State Bar Association to reopen the 2003 case against Walsh. The bar recommended suspension and the Supreme Court on Thursday agreed, pointing out that Walsh failed to respond to at least nine attempts by the State Bar to contact him and hasn’t shown he met the conditions imposed by the disciplinary panel in January 2003.
“We agree with the panel that Walsh’s admissions constitute clear and convincing evidence of professional misconduct sufficient to warrant the imposition of discipline,” the court order states. “Further, we note that Walsh engaged in a similar pattern of ignoring his clients, the bar and this court in a previous discipline matter.”
Walsh has practiced law in western Nevada since 1974 and, at one point, ran unsuccessfully against Noel Waters for Carson district attorney. He was a deputy attorney general for four years and a pro tem magistrate for the Carson City district and justice courts.
Contact Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.