Bar: Lawyer took $500K from dead clients

A La Jolla attorney is facing discipline from the State Bar of California after he allegedly took more than $500,000 from his deceased clients’ estate without the court’s permission, which prompted at least one beneficiary — the American Cancer Society — to sue him.
The State Bar claims that James McGowan, 76, paid himself nearly $515,000 from the trust of his client, Henry Thackwell, who died in April 2001, and the estate of Thackwell’s wife, Hildegard Thackwell, who died six months later. According to the bar complaint, McGowan said the money was compensation for legal services rendered, but he has not provided an accounting of the legal work he did on behalf of the trust and estate.

The payments occurred over a span of nine years, according to the bar, which licenses lawyers and regulates their conduct under the auspices of the state Supreme Court. The bar has issued three charges against McGowan, which will be heard by the State Bar Court.
State law requires that probate attorneys receive court approval before being paid out of estate funds, which the bar says did not occur with these funds.

Full Article and Source:
Bar: Lawyer took $500K from dead clients


4 Responses to “Bar: Lawyer took $500K from dead clients”

  1. StandUp Says:

    And how did he do this?It's because nobody's watching!

  2. Riley Says:

    He's up for discipline? What about criminal charges???????????

  3. Mike Says:


  4. Sue Says:


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