Thursday, October 17, 2013

Super Lawyer William Conour Receives 10-Year Sentence For Bilking Clients Out Of $6.7 Million

William Conour
Somone makes money peddling "Super Lawyer" status to Indiana lawyers, a badge trial lawyer William Conour gladly wore to sell his credibility to would-be clients. Unfortunately, at least 36 of his clients found out the hard way that he was a two-timing crook who stole as much as $6.7 million from funds he recovered for them to settle their personal injury claims in order to finance an opulent lifestyle for him and his trophy wife. The victims included widows, orphans and victims with long-term medical needs. Part of their money went to fund a large donation to the Robert McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, whose atrium now bears his name.

Today, a federal judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison for his misdeeds. Federal prosecutors had urged Judge Richard Young to sentence him to 20 years in prison. Despite complaints made by clients and one of his former partners over a several year period, the Attorney Disciplinary Commission says it lacked the resources to take action against him until he was charged by federal prosecutors after the FBI concluded its investigation. Conour resigned his law license last year rather than defend his actions.

Consider yourself warned. Whenever you see an Indianapolis area lawyer boasting that he or she is a "Super Lawyer," it means absolutely nothing other than they know how to play the game to get the publisher of the publication to bestow that designation on them. It in no way reflects on their competence or integrity as a lawyer, and it's no more reliable than some of those private rating services on which people waste time and money; it's merely the opinion of a very small sampling of people who participate in their annual survey.

The practice of attorneys being allowed to use this meaningless designation in their advertising should be barred under the rules as misleading and deceptive, but it's not. Indiana is not alone in allowing the "Super Lawyer" designation, which is always carried out by a publishing company that makes money selling advertising to attorneys who seek the self-serving designation. Time and time again throughout the country there have been so-called Super Lawyers busted for committing the most dastardly of deeds. Vanity is not a virtue. Just remember that.

[NOTE: An earlier version attributed the Super Lawyer list publication to IBJ Publishing Corp. Editor Greg Andrews says the publisher "has no business connection to Super Lawyers and don't peddle anything related to Super Lawyer status." I apologize for the error. It has been brought to my attention that is actually distributed through Indianapolis Monthly, which is a publication of Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications.

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