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Second Career for Disbarred Lawyer

by Carolyn Elefant on December 26, 2005 · 0 comments

in Ethics & Malpractice Issues, Solo Profiles

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Here’s an interesting profile, Ex-lawyer on the case with biting court report, Kentucky Courier-Journal (Dec. 26, 2005) about Shannon Ragland, a disbarred attorney who publishes a popular newsletter/monthly verdict reporter covering Kentucky courts.  What sets Ragland’s report apart from others is that he does it himself, adding insights, analysis, wit and sometime biting criticisms of the players involved.  Being disbarred gives Ragland this freedom, because after all, as he puts it, “What are they going to do?  Disbar me?”

Here are some excerpts from the article:

Twelve years ago, [Ragland] was a promising young attorney in Marion County
who had graduated in the top quarter of his University of Kentucky
class and was president of the Lebanon Rotary Club.

But then, addicted to sports and casino gambling, Ragland began
pocketing fees owed to his law firm. He admitted stealing about
$70,000, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and was sentenced to 10
years in prison.

“I admitted everything and withdrew from the bar,” he said in an interview. “Not that I had much choice.” [...]

Starting in Jefferson County with 75 subscribers, he launched his
verdict report and eventually took it statewide. A yearly subscription
is $175, and he now publishes similar newsletters in three other states
and one on the federal courts, grossing about $150,000 a year in
Kentucky alone.

He employs a staff of five, including a licensed lawyer he pays to
write squibs about verdicts in Indiana and Alabama, and lives with his
wife and two daughters in a $300,000 house in Northfield.

He said his unique status has given him the freedom to zing judges and
lawyers without fear of being sanctioned. “What are they going to do,”
he asks, “disbar me?”

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