In Supreme Court hand-down, University City attorney disciplined

A University City attorney was reprimanded by the Missouri Supreme Court, in what appears to be an honest bookkeeping mistake.

In SC96536, the Court reprimanded the license of St. Louis attorney Rick L. Nelson. The disciplinary order is available at Nelson overdrew a trust account by less than $100, which triggered a complaint.

The Supreme Court also moved to disbar a Greenwood attorney, Christopher F. Arbuckle. The disciplinary order is at

Arbuckle was found to have violated four rules regarding competence, among them, three rules that pertain to legal knowledge and skill:

[1] In determining whether a lawyer employs the requisite knowledge and skill in a particular matter, relevant factors include the relative complexity and specialized nature of the matter, the lawyer’s general experience, the lawyer’s training and experience in the field in question, the preparation and study the lawyer is able to give the matter, and whether it is feasible to refer the matter to, or associate or consult with, a lawyer of established competence in the field in question. In many instances, the required proficiency is that of a general practitioner. Expertise in a particular field of law may be required in some circumstances.

[3] In an emergency a lawyer may give advice or assistance in a matter in which the lawyer does not have the skill ordinarily required where referral to or consultation or association with another lawyer would be impractical. Even in an emergency, however, assistance should be limited to that reasonably necessary in the circumstances, for ill-considered action under emergency conditions can jeopardize the client’s interest.

[4] A lawyer may accept representation where the requisite level of competence can be achieved by reasonable preparation. This applies as well to a lawyer who is appointed as counsel for an unrepresented person. See also Rule 4-6.2.


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