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Waterloo attorney’s license suspended for misconduct

Trish Mehaffey, CR Gazette –

The Iowa Supreme Court suspended the license of a Waterloo lawyer for one year Friday, based on multiple acts of misconduct.

The court ruled Robert J. Hearity, who has practiced law since 1982, committed 12 violations of the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct regarding five clients.

The court’s Attorney Disciplinary Board initially brought the complaint against Hearity, and he failed to answer the complaint or respond, so he has been on temporary suspension since Jan. 11, 2011, according to the ruling.

Hearity’s misconduct included failing to close an estate and left it pending more than three years, failing to file an appeal for a client, accepting payment for legal representation which he didn’t provide and he also practiced law while being under suspension.

According to the court ruling, Hearity violated ethical rules by not following through with the estate matter and the appeal, he violated fees rules by collecting money from clients without resolving the case and he failed to response to the board regarding complaints.

Hearity’s history of similar ethical misconduct was an aggravating factor in determining his one-year suspension, according to the ruling. The board admonished him in 2006 and 2010 for failing to comply with board investigations. He was again cited in 2007 for failing to handle a probate delinquency and in 2010 he neglected an appeal.

Hearity’s license will be suspended for one year before he can be considered for reinstatement.

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