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Cloquet attorney sanctioned for mishandling client funds

A Cloquet lawyer has been disciplined by the Minnesota Supreme Court for professional misconduct for mishandling a trust account and unintentionally misappropriating his client's money.

A Cloquet lawyer has been disciplined by the Minnesota Supreme Court for professional misconduct for mishandling a trust account and unintentionally misappropriating his client's money.

Thomas Skare was publicly reprimanded and placed on two years' probation, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility announced Wednesday.

According to the order signed by Supreme Court Associate Justice Alan Page, Skare failed to maintain the required trust account books and records, resulting in shortages in his trust account and the unintentional misappropriation of client funds, and failed to ensure his trust account was interest bearing.

The order states that Skare unconditionally admitted to the allegations.

As a condition of his probation, Skare is required to maintain his law office and trust account books and records in compliance with Minnesota Rules of Professional conduct and make the books and records available to the director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility at such intervals as the director deems necessary to determine compliance.

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Skare wasn't available for comment Wednesday. His office issued a prepared statement. The statement said that accounting errors in the trust account occurred during a time when his office bookkeeping was "outsourced." The statement also said that part of that action involved a local bank's mistaken deposit of office trust funds into the wrong account at the same time Skare was dealing with a family medical emergency that occupied his attention.

Skare has had one other brush with the board. In 2006, he was issued an admonition for failing to communicate with, and take timely action on behalf of, a client and for failing to promptly, upon request, return the client file.

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