6 Tampa Bay area attorneys suspended or reprimanded by Florida Supreme Court

Florida Supreme Court. File photo
Florida Supreme Court. File photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Six Tampa Bay area attorneys are among 21 attorneys who were recently disbarred, reprimanded, or had their licenses revoked or suspended by the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders.

The Florida Bar released the following information about the local attorneys–

  • James Lee Clark, 701 S. Howard Ave., Suite 201, Tampa, suspended until further order effective 30 days from a Nov. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Clark appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating at least $946,764 of client funds. (Case No. SC16-1994)
  • James Edward Flynn, Jr., 901 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter, following an Oct. 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) Further, Flynn shall complete a trust accounting workshop. Flynn shared fees with a non-lawyer employee and charged excessive fees. A Bar audit found deficiencies in Flynn’s trust account caused by his lack of experience. (Case No. SC16-1802)
  • Alrecia L. Gulley, P.O. Box 1932, New Port Richey, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter, following an Oct. 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2012) Gulley worked for a law firm, based in California, that handled foreclosure surplus cases in Florida. In representing a client on a contingency fee basis, Gulley was not diligent in following up on information provided to her. (Case No. SC16-1801)
  • Tonja J. Helton, 10150 Highland Manor Drive, Suite 200, Tampa. The Supreme Court granted Helton’s request for a disciplinary revocation, effective immediately, following an Oct. 27 court order, with leave to seek readmission after five years. (Admitted to practice: 2009) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. A disciplinary matter pending against Helton includes allegations of misappropriation of client funds. (Case No. SC16-1546)
  • Arthur Drew Rubin, P.O. Box 89282, Tampa, to receive a public reprimand following a Nov. 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) A grievance committee found that Rubin improperly solicited potential clients. As two pro se parties were leaving a courtroom, Rubin approached them, suggested they needed counsel, and offered his services. (Case No. SC16-1883)
  • Nadine Rhodes Smith, P.O. Box 4208, Clearwater, suspended for three years effective immediately following a Nov. 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Further, Smith shall comply with a July 28 suspension order, Case No. SC16-49, prior to petitioning for reinstatement. Specifically, Smith was required to notify her clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of her two-year suspension, and provide the Bar within 30 days a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of her suspension order. (Case No. SC16-1784)

According to The Florida Bar, court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline.

Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Historically, less than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

Discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles.

To view discipline documents, follow these steps.

Additional information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint can be found here.

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