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In re Lords

Supreme Court of Montana

January 16, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF RONALD D. LORDS, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.

          MICHAEL W. COTTER Chief Disciplinary Counsel Office of Disciplinary Counsel

          COMPLAINT 1.4, 1.8(A)(3), 1.15, 1.15(B), 1.18, 8.1, 8.4(C)

         The Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana ("ODC") hereby charges Ronald D, Lords with professional misconduct as follows:

         General Allegations

         1. Ronald D. Lords, (referred to as "Respondent1'), was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Montana in 1994 at which time he took the oath required for admission, wherein he agreed to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Disciplinary Rules adopted by the Supreme Court, and the highest standards of honesty, justice and morality, including, but not limited to, those outlined in parts 3 and 4 of Chapter 61, Title 37, Montana Code Annotated.

         2. The Montana Supreme Court has approved and adopted the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC"), governing the ethical conduct of attorneys licensed to practice in the State of Montana, which Rules were in effect at all times mentioned in this Complaint.

         3. Under information and belief, at all times described below, Lords conducted transactions arising from the existing attorney-client relationship.

         Count One

         4. ODC realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 3 of the General Allegations as if fully restated in this Count One.

         5. At all times pertinent hereto, Lords was a sole practitioner (Eagles Landing Legal Services, P.C.) with an office at various physical locations in Stevensville, Montana. Lords also owned and operated a construction company Eagles Landing Construction Company, LLC. Based upon information and belief, the construction company shared the same physical location as the law practice.

         6. From June 2011 through September 2017, Respondent conducted various business transactions with current or former clients, instructing them to "invest" or "loan" money to his business, Eagles Landing Construction, LLC. Respondent received approximately Si, 330, 000, of which, $535, 000 was from five clients. The remaining $795, 000 was from another nine individuals.

         7. Respondent drafted promissory notes to at least five clients, with a promise to pay monthly interest. Each note was alleged to be secured by real property located within Ravalli or Lake County Montana. The notes were due in full 30 days after demand. Based upon information and belief, Respondent signed the notes individually and as president of Eagles Landing Construction, LLC.

         8. Lords did not advise the clients in writing or encourage the clients to seek independent legal counsel concerning the details of the transactions, a violation of Rule 1.8(a)(3), MRPC.

         9. Lords deposited $1, 205, 000 into various personal or business accounts. At least $125, 000 in funds was deposited into his IOLTA trust account, Eagles Landing Legal Services, P.C.

         10. Although most of the funds were deposited to personal and business accounts, Respondent issued interest payments to clients and other ...


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