William Chipman Miles - #40970
The following information is from the official records of The State Bar of California.
PO Box 133
Walnut Creek, CA 94597
|Phone Number:||(925) 286-3011|
|Fax Number:||Not Available|
||Undergraduate School:||Stanford Univ; Stanford CA|
|Sections:||None||Law School:||UC Berkeley SOL Boalt Hall; Berkeley CA|
Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law in California
|This member has no public record of administrative actions.|
Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.
State Bar Court Cases
NOTE: The State Bar Court began posting public discipline documents online in 2005. The format and pagination of documents posted on this site may vary from the originals in the case file as a result of their translation from the original format into Word and PDF. Copies of additional related documents in a case are available upon request. Only opinions designated for publication in the State Bar Court Reporter may be cited or relied on as precedent in State Bar Court proceedings. For further information about a case that is displayed here, please refer to the State Bar Court's online docket, which can be found at: http://apps.statebarcourt.ca.gov/dockets.aspx
DISCLAIMER: Any posted Notice of Disciplinary Charges, Conviction Transmittal or other initiating document, contains only allegations of professional misconduct. The attorney is presumed to be innocent of any misconduct warranting discipline until the charges have been proven.
|Effective Date||Case Number||Description|
|11/19/2009||00-O-11978||Decision [PDF] [WORD]|
California Bar Journal Discipline Summaries
Summaries from the California Bar Journal are based on discipline orders but are not the official records. Not all discipline actions have associated CBJ summaries. Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.
June 30, 2013
WILLIAM CHIPMAN MILES [#40970], 70, of Walnut Creek, was disbarred June 30, 2013 and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.Miles was found culpable of not complying with the terms of a 2009 disciplinary order. Miles initially tendered his resignation from the State Bar with charges pending, but the Review Department recommended his resignation be declined because he did not comply with a previous California Supreme Court order requiring he pay restitution. The Review Department was also concerned that allowing his resignation would not serve to protect the public.Miles was suspended in 2009 for 15 acts of misconduct in a matter in which he represented 44 landowners. They included representing clients with conflicting interests, improperly splitting fees, agreeing to an aggregate settlement without obtaining a client’s consent, withdrawing from employment without protecting the client’s interests, not maintaining disputed funds in trust or account for client funds and failing to perform legal services competently. He also misappropriated funds, committed acts of moral turpitude and attempted to convince a client to withdraw a complaint to the State Bar.Miles did not abide by the terms of his probation by failing to timely file seven quarterly probation reports and client funds reports and by not attending Ethics School and Client Trust Account School or providing proof of his attendance.
November 19, 2009
WILLIAM CHIPMAN MILES [#40970], 67, of Walnut Creek was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with a two-year actual suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20. The order took effect Nov. 19, 2009.The State Bar Court found that Miles committed 15 acts of misconduct in a matter in which he represented 44 landowners. He originally represented Karen Walker, who with her then-husband had purchased a lot in Fairfield called Rancho Solano. Walker and other lot owners had significant drainage and landslide issues because of an underground natural spring.Miles advised Walker to form a group to file and share the costs of a lawsuit but he never informed them the group would have multiple potential conflicts of interest. Walker hired Miles’ law firm and signed a fee agreement.Miles filed suit in 1993 but his effort to plead a class action was denied. However, he was permitted to add more plaintiffs. The owners of 43 additional lots signed a fee agreement different from Walker’s and she did not sign it.Walker subsequently sold her lot at a significant loss because of drainage and landslide problems. Her damage claims were substantially higher than those of the neighbors and Miles knew her interests potentially conflicted with the other lot owners. Miles never informed Walker he had entered into a fee sharing agreement with another law firm, entitling it to one-third of all fees.Settlements were reached with some defendants, but Walker disputed parts of one settlement and refused to sign one proposal. Walker continued to stress that she was not bound by the group fee agreement and demanded to receive $160,000 of the $1.43 million settlement proceeds. Instead, the 44 lot owners received an equal distribution of about $15,000. Walker sued Miles and won a jury verdict that was upheld by the court of appeal.The bar court found that Miles represented clients with conflicting interests, improperly split fees, agreed to an aggregate settlement without obtaining Walker’s consent, withdrew from employment without protecting her interests, did not maintain disputed funds in trust or account for client funds, failed to perform legal services competently, and he misappropriated funds, committed acts of moral turpitude and attempted to have a client withdraw a complaint to the State Bar.In mitigation, Miles practiced for 27 years with no discipline, demonstrated good character and has done pro bono work.However, Judge Lucy Armendariz said he engaged in uncharged misconduct, including “numerous misrepresentations to the State Bar and the superior court of Solano County,” and he received loans from clients to cover the mounting litigation costs, which involved uncharged conflict of interest violations. In addition, Walker had “to endure years of litigation and extreme emotional turmoil."