Father-in-Law of Lt. Governor Misappropriated Client Money

Lawyer reported himself to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel after he was caught

By Justin Franz

An Anaconda attorney who is the father-in-law of Montana’s lieutenant governor has reported himself to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel after he was caught misappropriating client money.

David McLean made his report July 23, the same day his son and law partner, Michael McLean, wrote a letter to the disciplinary counsel office reporting the ethical violation, The Montana Standard reported.

The letter said a firm secretary noticed some irregularities in David McLean’s files July 22. Michael McLean said their investigation determined David McLean had deposited client money into the law firm’s account and made disbursements to himself.

David McLean acknowledged misappropriating client funds beginning in 2010, said the letter from Michael McLean, who is married to Lt. Gov. Angela McLean. The letter does not say how much money was involved.

Angela McLean said in a statement that she is proud of her husband for doing the right thing under “extraordinarily difficult circumstances.”

The Office of Disciplinary Council will investigate the extent of the misappropriation, but a representative declined to comment until a complaint is filed with the Montana Supreme Court.

The McLean & McLean law firm issued a statement saying the affected clients have been notified, David McLean is no longer practicing law, and the legal practice will be closing.

“David McLean took full and complete responsibility for taking client funds and made it clear his son had no prior knowledge of his activities,” the firm said in a statement. “No irregularities exist in any cases handled by Mike McLean.”