TALLAHASSEE — Jacksonville attorney Keirsten Klatch was recently suspended for three years after a complaint against the attorney uncovered that she had borrowed funds from a client trust without permission.
The order was signed by the Florida Supreme Court and is retroactive to June 16.
The formal complaint against Klatch begins with her time as a paralegal for The Littlefield Law Group. One of the firm’s clients was on trial for a wrongful death matter and had placed money with the firm for a pending guardianship matter. The funds were meant for his wife and their children, court documents state.
When the law firm’s owner was disbarred in 2010, the client requested Klatch take responsibility of the guardianship money.
Klatch was not yet admitted to the Florida Bar but had successfully passed the state’s bar exam. However, Klatch was licensed to practice in New York and was granted pro hac vice status to represent the client in Florida while her admission was pending.
Upon the client’s conviction, the client’s funds were placed in a client trust account operated by the attorney. Over the years, the attorney successfully dispersed the funds as the client requested. Court records state the client began having difficulty communicating with Klatch and filed a complaint with the bar in 2013. He retracted this complaint but refiled it in 2014. An investigation into the matter showed that both the attorney and client had changed their addresses several times creating the issue. No discipline was issued, but the account was monitored by the bar.
The client filed another complaint in 2015, and an investigation found that Klatch had borrowed money from the account and later replaced the funds.
Klatch will be suspended from practice for three years, after which she will serve three years of probation.
The Duval County attorney was admitted to the Florida Bar in July 2011 after graduating from the Florida Coastal School of Law. She was previously suspended in May 2016 for failing to respond to a Florida Bar subpoena.