On December 27, 2018, Steven Frank Helm petitioned the Supreme Court of Virginia for reinstatement of his license to practice law pursuant to Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-25.E of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. On January 16, 2018, the Clerk of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board certified that the requirements of Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-25.F were met. Accordingly, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board will hear the Petition for Reinstatement on November 16, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. at the State Corporation Commission, Courtroom A, 1300 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219. After hearing evidence and oral argument, the Disciplinary Board will make factual findings and recommend to the Supreme Court whether the petition should be granted or denied.
The Disciplinary Board seeks information about Mr. Helm’s fitness to practice law. Written comments or requests to testify at the hearing should be submitted to DaVida M. Davis, Clerk of the Disciplinary System, 1111 East Main Street, 7th Floor, Richmond, Virginia, 23219 or by email to email@example.com, no later than November 9, 2018. Comments will become a matter of public record. Copies of Mr. Helm’s April 1, 2011 Consent to Revocation (with Mr. Helm’s Affidavit Declaring Consent to Revocation attached) and the Petition for Reinstatement with all attachments are available to the public by contacting Ms. Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the clerk’s office at (804) 775-0539.
Mr. Helm was initially licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia on September 30, 1991. On April 1, 2011, the Virginia State Bar accepted his Affidavit Consenting to Revocation and entered an order revoking his law license to practice law, effective that date. At the time that he consented to the revocation of his license, Mr. Helm was under investigation for three cases involving lack of diligence, lack of communication, failure to properly account for client funds, and failure to properly maintain client funds in his trust account.
On March 29, 2012, pursuant to a plea agreement, Mr. Helm pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia to one count of mail fraud (violation of 18 U.S.C, Section 1341) and one count of fraud and false statements in violation of 26 U.S.C. 7206 (1). Mr. Helm engaged in mail fraud by utilizing the United States Postal Service in furtherance of a scheme to wrongfully use client funds to pay personal expenses and obligations. Mr. Helm engaged in the offense of fraud and false statements by filing a false tax return in which he intentionally failed to properly report income acquired during the 2009 calendar year.
Mr. Helm was awarded a sentence that included imprisonment for a period of 24 months and, upon his release from confinement, a period of supervised release of two years. On June 12, 2012, he reported to the Federal Correctional Institute in Morgantown, West Virginia. He was released to a halfway house in Newport News, VA, on December 26, 2013, after serving 18 months, two weeks, and two days of his federal sentence, having been awarded “good time” for good behavior. He was released from the halfway house on January 22, 2014, at which time he commenced his period of supervised release. In furtherance of a recommendation from his probation officer, Mr. Helm was released from his supervised release approximately one year early, that being on March 30, 2015.
In his Petition for Reinstatement, Mr. Helm asserted that he has learned valuable lessons from his mistakes, that he is a person of honest demeanor and good moral character and possesses the requisite fitness to practice law within the Commonwealth of Virginia. He further asserted that he now recognizes the severity of his situational depression, which he contends contributed to his committing the misconduct that resulted in the revocation of his license and his criminal convictions, and that he has recovered from this situational depression. Mr. Helm further asserted that more than six years have elapsed since the revocation of his license and that he has used that time to serve his debt to society, and to grow in character, maturity and experience. Mr. Helm submits that he has kept current with the law, and that since the time of his revocation, he has completed over ninety credit hours of continuing legal education, including fifteen hours in ethics, all of which have been approved by the Virginia State Bar. He further provided proof that he took and passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination on August 13, 2016, receiving a scaled score of 97.
Mr. Helm’s law license was placed under a Cost Suspension on September 28, 2011, for failure to pay costs associated with the three misconduct cases which were under investigation at the time he submitted his Consent to Revocation. A receiver was appointed for Respondent’s law practice and on February 13, 2017, the receiver made payment to the Virginia State Bar for all outstanding costs, including a payment in the amount of $7,266.27 to the Clients’ Protection Fund. Thereafter, the Cost Suspension was lifted. Presently, Mr. Helm does not owe the Virginia State Bar any costs or fees associated with any complaints against him.
Mr. Helm reported that his law-related employment since his release has included positions with several law firms, including: Commonwealth Accident Injury Law, P.C. (Litigation and Office Manager) 2016 to present; UnitedLex (document review) 2015 to 2016; and 2255 Appeals (founder/owner of an appellate consulting business) 2014 to 2016. Mr. Helm also served as a consulting paralegal to Richmond-area law firms.
Mr. Helm reported that his non-law-related employment included: Downtown and James Center YMCAs (group fitness instructor and personal trainer) 2015 to present;Max’s on Broad/Tarrant’s Café/Tarrant’s West (RVA Hospitality) (various positions from bartender to director of public relations) from 2014 to 2017; KennTico Cuban Bar & Grill (bartender) 2015; and Pegasus Restaurant (bartender/server) 2015. Mr. Helm reported that his community service includes volunteering with the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and supporting local charities by training for and running in marathons.Updated: Jun 11, 2018
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