Former candidate for state representative Blum disbarred

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | 1:55 p.m. CST; updated 7:46 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 26, 2008

COLUMBIA — A former Democratic candidate for District 25 state representative was disbarred Tuesday by the Missouri Supreme Court, according to court documents.

Columbia attorney Michael W. Blum was removed from the list of attorneys qualified to practice law in Missouri after he failed to respond within 30 days to charges of misconduct filed by the state's Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. The court also ordered Blum pay a fee of $2,000 to benefit the Advisory Committee and Legal Ethics Counsel Fund.

Alan Pratzel, chief disciplinary counsel for the state, said the charges involved inappropriate handling of funds between Blum's trust accounts and operating accounts, lack of proper communication with clients and neglect of cases.

Pratzel said there was no evidence that Blum stole any funds, but the misconduct stemmed from the manner in which the funds were handled.

In a phone interview, Blum said he knew a case was pending regarding the handling of his trust fund but was unaware of the order of disbarment. He said he did not know if he had received a notification of the order from the court.

Blum, a former state assistant attorney general, ran for District 25 state representative in 2004. He finished second in the Democratic primary to eventual general election winner Judy Baker.

Blum also served as the president of the Boone County Muleskinners in 2006.

Blum founded his firm, The Blum Law Firm LLC, in 2003, and specialized in divorce law and worker's compensation cases, according to the firm's Web site. The firm moved in 2006 to its current location on Ninth Street in downtown Columbia.

Pratzel said Blum could ask the Supreme Court, which is responsible for disciplining judges and attorneys for ethical and professional misconduct, to set aside the disbarment and resume his practice.

But, if the court decides to let the disbarment stand, Blum would have to wait five years and retake the bar examination before seeking reinstatement, Pratzel said.

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