Discipline Notice - Lowell K. Halverson

License Number: 1518
Member Name: Lowell K. Halverson
Discipline Detail
Action: Suspension
Effective Date: 5/22/2000
RPC: 1.4 - Communication
1.7 - Conflict of Interest; General Rule
2.1 - Advisor
Discipline Notice:
Description: Lowell K. Halverson (WSBA No. 1518, admitted 1968), of Mercer Island, has been suspended for one year by order of the Supreme Court, following a hearing. The Court issued the certificate of finality in the case on July 7, 2000. For additional information, please see the published Supreme Court opinion. The suspension began on May 22, 2000 pursuant to an order allowing the suspension to begin while the case was pending. The discipline is based on Mr. Halverson’s consensual sexual relationship with his client during her dissolution case and his failure to explain the potential conflicts to the client.
Mr. Halverson had consensual sexual relationships with six female clients over a period of more than 10 years. During this time, Mr. Halverson was married. The most recent relationship began in 1991. The client worked in Mr. Halverson’s office in 1990, and retained him to represent her in a marriage dissolution action in May 1991. Mr. Halverson filed the dissolution petition in June 1991, and the client moved out of her husband’s house in July.
The same month, the client confided to Mr. Halverson that she was attracted to him. Shortly after that, following a successful court hearing, Mr. Halverson took the client to an art exhibit and then to a restaurant, where they discussed the ground rules for a potential relationship. Mr. Halverson stated that his wife could not find out and that he could not have a relationship with the client’s children. Mr. Halverson told the client that if these rules were followed, their relationship would not affect her pending divorce. He did not explain to the client the possible effects on her pending divorce if their relationship was discovered. Mr. Halverson had a sexual relationship with his client for the next six months.
On January 1, 1992, Mr. Halverson’s wife, who was also his office manager, discovered the affair. Within a few days, Mr. Halverson withdrew from the client’s case. He temporarily moved out of his home and continued his relationship with the client, but in mid-February, told the client that he was returning to his wife, and the client retained new counsel to complete her divorce. In October 1994, the client filed a civil suit against Mr. Halverson. The civil suit settled in 1995 for a substantial sum and was sealed by agreement. The client’s husband sued and received half of the settlement.
Mr. Halverson’s conduct violated RPCs 1.4(b), requiring lawyers to explain matters to the extent reasonably necessary to permit their clients to make informed decisions regarding representation; 1.7(b), prohibiting lawyers from representing a client if the representation may be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a third person or the lawyer’s own interests, unless the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not be adversely affected and the client consents in writing after consultation and a full disclosure of the material facts; and 2.1, requiring lawyers to exercise independent professional judgment in representing clients.
Andrea Darvas represented the Bar Association. David Allen represented Mr. Halverson. The hearing officer was William H. Broughton.

In some cases, discipline search results will not reveal all disciplinary action relating to a Washington licensed legal professional, and may not display links to the official decision documents. Click the "Important Information" button below for further details.

Important Information +

This discipline search accesses notices of disciplinary action since 1984, and for cases decided in 2013 or later, also generally includes the official decision documents. The search does not contain pre-1984 notices or records, and may not contain the official decision documents in cases decided before 2013. To obtain other records of discipline, including pre-1984 discipline documents, please make a public records request.

The action listed on the discipline notice does not in all cases reflect the current status of the legal professional's license. Check the Legal Directory for current status information.