Court rejects lawyer’s request to disbar him

The Montana Supreme Court has rejected an Anaconda attorney’s request to bypass disciplinary proceedings and immediately disbar him over stolen client money.

Tuesday’s unanimous order says David McLean must go through the proceedings to create a record to determine restitution and any future requests for reinstatement.

McLean is the father-in-law of Lt. Gov. Angela McLean. His petition says he misappropriated at least $321,000 from clients and $32,000 from an attorney-related organization.

He asked the Supreme Court to disbar him instead of going through disciplinary proceedings so that his former clients could seek immediate relief from the Montana Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection.

ODC attorney Shaun Thompson says allowing McLean to skirt the disciplinary system would create a bad precedent and prevent investigators from discovering whether there was additional misconduct.