A pair of Clark County attorneys have temporarily lost their right to practice law in Nevada following allegations of misconduct.
Ronald Serota and Douglas H. Clark face formal disciplinary proceedings, according to orders signed by each of the seven Nevada Supreme Court justices on Nov. 18.
Serota is accused of misappropriating $319,000 from an unidentified client’s trust account. In a footnote, Serota admitted to the misappropriation and has "joined in the petition seeking his temporary suspension."
"I voluntarily went to the state bar and reported myself," Serota said in an interview Wednesday, freely admitting he mishandled the funds. He declined to identify his client or elaborate on how he misappropriated the funds as the matter must go through a formal disciplinary process. "I wanted to come up with a solution, unfortunately, they temporarily suspended my license."
Serota said coming forward was not easy but it was "the honorable thing to do. I took steps to make my client whole. I guess you could say I made my own news. This isn’t a great position to be in … but I want to rectify what I did. I mishandled funds. I violated the oath I took when I became an attorney."
Serota said the incident has had a "tremendous impact" on his professional life and he hopes the state bar takes his candor into consideration when it decides his fate. "I have to be ethical, and I have to make my client whole," he said. "Whatever happens to me is second to that."
The allegations against Clark involve multiple clients. He is accused of misappropriating a number of clients’ funds, of overdrawing his client trust account, neglecting cases, failing to communicate with clients, and failing to turn over client files upon termination.
Neither Clark nor Serota can accept new cases or continue to represent existing clients. The client trust accounts for both attorneys have been frozen.
The telephone number provided for Clark’s law office is out of service. Neither man has a prior public disciplinary record with the state. Serota was admitted to the Nevada State Bar in 2001. Clark became an attorney in 1992, according to the state bar Web site.
Contact Doug McMurdo at dmcmurdo@reviewjournal. com or 702-380-8135.