Riverton attorney receives public censure from Wyoming Supreme Court for ethics lapse

The Wyoming Supreme Court: (L-R) Justice E. James Burke, Justice William U. Hill, Chief Justice Marilyn S. Kite, Justice Barton R. Voigt, Justice Michael K. Davis. 

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – The Wyoming Supreme Court Thursday issued an order of public censure for Riverton attorney Cynthia K. Van Vleet. Van Vleet undertook the representation of the husband in a divorce matter when she was already representing the wife in an unrelated matter.

Following a disciplinary hearing before the Board of Professional Responsibility, the Board issued a report and recommendation to the Wyoming Supreme Court that Van Vleet be publicly censured for violating Rule 1.7 of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct. The Board found that Van Vleet should not have undertaken the representation of the husband in the divorce action, and that even if dual representation of the parties was to be permitted, the lack of a written waiver of the conflict of interest made it impossible to determine if the parties were adequately advised of the problems created by the conflict. The Board found that Van Vleet’s failure to avoid the apparent conflict of interest resulted in injury to the profession, and further found that Van Vleet engaged in deceptive practices during the disciplinary process and failed, until the disciplinary hearing, to acknowledge the wrongful nature of her conduct.

The Wyoming Supreme Court accepted the Board’s report and recommendation for a public censure, and ordered Van Vleet to pay an administrative fee of $500, to reimburse the Wyoming State Bar for costs in the amount of $4,697.43, and to obtain four hours of continuing legal education on the subject of ethics.