06.22.14 Suspension [New Hanover County]

North Carolina State Bar Building Photo Courtesy of the North Carolina State Bar

On June 22, 2014, the Disciplinary Hearing Commission (DHC) of the North Carolina State Bar suspended William T. Batchelor, II, for violations of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.

During the period January 1, 2007 and June 30, 2010, Batchelor had two trust accounts associate with his law practices.  There were several occasions in which Batchelor mishandled the trust accounts including: (1) failing to identify the source and name of the client or other person to whom the funds belonged for cash deposits, (2) checks were inappropriately disbursed from the trust accounts written to suppliers for office supplies, expenses and equipment, and (3) failing to properly conduct monthly and quarterly reconciliation of the trust accounts.  Batchelor also charged flat expense charges irrespective of actual costs incurred in handling individual clients.

The Hearing Panel concluded that Batchelor committed multiple violations of Rule 1.15-2, 1.15-3, and 1.5 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct: (1) failure to properly identify entrusted funds, (2) failure to make items drawn on his trust accounts for payment of expenses payable to himself, (3) failure conduct necessary reconciliations of his trust accounts, (4) failure to hold and maintain entrusted property separate from the property of Batchelor, and (5) charging and collecting clearly excessive fees.

Based on these violations, the Hearing Panel suspended Batchelor from the practice of law in North Carolina for three years, with a possibility for stay of the remaining period of suspension after completion of one year on suspension.

View the full disciplinary order below.

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