TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Tampa attorney Lysa Nichole Clifton, removed from representing alleged Clearwater shooter Michael Drejka last fall, has been voluntarily disbarred following a June 27 Florida Supreme Court order ahead of pending disciplinary charges, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
"Charges pending against Clifton included failure to perform services after being retained in one client matter, direct solicitation of a client in a high-profile criminal case and pending criminal charges for driving under the influence in one matter and possession of a controlled substance and driving with a suspended license in another matter," the state bar said in its July 26 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order.
In its two-page order, the state high court approved Clifton's uncontested petition for disciplinary revocation, tantamount to disbarment, with leave to seek readmission after five years.
Clifton's suspension was effective 30 days from the date of the court's order to allow her time to close out her practice and protect her existing clients' interests, according to the high court's order. The court also ordered Clifton to pay $1,366 in costs.
Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion does not alter the effective date of Clifton's disbarment.
Attorneys disbarred in Florida generally cannot reapply for admission for five years and must pass an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.
Clifton was admitted to the bar in Florida on Oct. 3, 2012, according to her profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Clifton's state bar profile.
Drejka, charged in the fatal shooting of Markeis McGlockton last summer, asked a Pinellas County judge in October to remove Clifton as his attorney. Clifton allegedly solicited Drejka in his criminal defense case while he was incarcerated and already represented by the Sixth Circuit Public Defender's Office, according to Clifton's petition and a local news report. The Pinellas County judge approved Drejka's motion.
Clifton was arrested on a DUI charge the following month. Other allegations pending against Clifton include a grievance matter opened by the state bar in April about a client who alleges Clifton owes money for legal services not performed, according to Clifton's petition.