On the Record

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Va. lawyer managed his client trust account from desk drawer

Lawyers are always told to keep detailed records of their client trust account. One Virginia lawyer decided to take a different route.

Since 2015, George H. Edwards of Chesterfield has used his desk drawer as his trust account and “withdrawing funds as earned,” the Virginia State Bar found. Last month, Edwards accepted a public reprimand for violating ethics rules related to safekeeping of property, according to our sister publication, Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

Edwards, a lawyer for nearly 40 years, admitted to a bar investigator in February he had not used a trust account since 2015. He also acknowledged that he had not kept proper trust account records since 2015.

Despite Edwards’ lack of records, the Virginia bar’s investigation did not show any evidence of defalcation and did not lead to any charges. The subcommittee said it didn’t find any clear and convincing evidence to support the complaint.

Edwards has since opened a new trust account and started using it immediately, the bar report said. He also rehired a legal assistant who previously worked with him.

As part of his reprimand, Edwards agreed to comply with rules of safekeeping property and submit to spot checks of his trust account, the state bar said.

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