Law and Order

There are 63 comments on the The Plain Dealer story from Jul 7, 2007, titled Law and Order. In it, The Plain Dealer reports that:

Attorney Michelle A. Smithern, 48, of Akron, was arrested Thursday on a grand theft charge. via The Plain Dealer

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Plain Dealer.

Kaiser Socia

United States

#21 Aug 9, 2008
Ohio Girl wrote:
Kaiser Socia - it sounds like you had a hard time with Michelle Smithern. What was the civil case about?
Why the concern?... if you're familiar at all w/ my pseudonym you'd know better than to ask.

2+23+68=93
Savannah

Canton, OH

#22 Aug 18, 2008
I wish this had been in the paper! I found out about this through neighbors. My experience with Michelle has cost me thousands! It also cost my family thousands! I understand now why things were so outrageous. I wish I had known this back then.

My divorce was finally finalized in 2005. The judge finally said, enough is enough, no more delaying this! Then I had to go through a civil suit and my family was dragged into it as well. I don't have insurance to get back the money I spent, as well as, the money my family spent. My attorney fees are all on credit cards. It will take me years to get out of this debt. Emotionally, well...it has definitely taken its toll.

If more clients knew about this, they would voice their opinions. It is sad to go through a divorce and then on top of it to be raped financially by your attorney. Then to be slapped with a civil suit. One can't argue it, one has to go through it. One must fork out the money that isn't there! I have no faith in the justice system anymore, but I will definitely tell my story.

How do her clients get their money back? I know there are many people who are in debt because of her foolishness.

Someone mentioned Halloween and I recalled sitting down at the court house in the cafeteria with her. My brother was with me. I remember her talking to another attorney about a Halloween party she was going to have for her kids, hayride, etc. She was talking about this right before we were to meet with a judge. I felt it was rude...and I thought, "I am sure I am helping foot the bill for this party."

I feel sorry for her kids and her parents. I hate to think of what they are going through. When I read that she appeared to have no remorse, that is just mind boggling. Some people don't change even when they have lost so much.

I have left a message for Kelli Anderson at the Summit Co. Probation Dept. and I will be sending my letter.
I know her well

Dubois, IN

#23 Aug 18, 2008
Savannah- by all means write a letter to Kelli Anderson. BUT ALSO take a few moments to post messages on boards that may be frequented by former clients of Michelle Smithern directing them here and also urging them to also contact the probation department. I have been posting on Akron area boards at random hoping to alert someone like yourself before the deadline. Your experience sounds so much like my experience with her.... the same patterns repeated by 5 or 10 people should carry more weight than one letter alone.
Savannah

Canton, OH

#24 Aug 18, 2008
I know her well- thank you for your comments. When is the deadline? I have not heard back from Kelli Anderson, but I am sending my letter. I thought that my case was just bizarre! I have often thought I could write a movie that could air on the Life Time network! I hate to think that others went through what I did. It was awful.

Since: Jun 08

Akron, Ohio

#25 Aug 18, 2008
Savannah wrote:
I wish this had been in the paper! I found out about this through neighbors. My experience with Michelle has cost me thousands! It also cost my family thousands! I understand now why things were so outrageous. I wish I had known this back then.
My divorce was finally finalized in 2005. The judge finally said, enough is enough, no more delaying this! Then I had to go through a civil suit and my family was dragged into it as well. I don't have insurance to get back the money I spent, as well as, the money my family spent. My attorney fees are all on credit cards. It will take me years to get out of this debt. Emotionally, well...it has definitely taken its toll.
If more clients knew about this, they would voice their opinions. It is sad to go through a divorce and then on top of it to be raped financially by your attorney. Then to be slapped with a civil suit. One can't argue it, one has to go through it. One must fork out the money that isn't there! I have no faith in the justice system anymore, but I will definitely tell my story.
How do her clients get their money back? I know there are many people who are in debt because of her foolishness.
Someone mentioned Halloween and I recalled sitting down at the court house in the cafeteria with her. My brother was with me. I remember her talking to another attorney about a Halloween party she was going to have for her kids, hayride, etc. She was talking about this right before we were to meet with a judge. I felt it was rude...and I thought, "I am sure I am helping foot the bill for this party."
I feel sorry for her kids and her parents. I hate to think of what they are going through. When I read that she appeared to have no remorse, that is just mind boggling. Some people don't change even when they have lost so much.
I have left a message for Kelli Anderson at the Summit Co. Probation Dept. and I will be sending my letter.
YOU hired an expensive attorney...did you not realize the cost and time consuming efforts of a divorce? If she were delaying the process to up her billable hours, wouldn't you have changed lawyers or challenged the charges?

I'm sorry, the whole Halloween story is just ridiculous. We have children also. We throw them parties. We make a lot of money because we're skilled at our jobs and we went to higher education for over 7 years. You went to one of the top firms in the Cleveland/Akron area which hires the cream of the crop from law schools. You pay a pretty penny for that representation.
Kaiser Socia

Canton, OH

#26 Aug 19, 2008
AttractiveNuisance wrote:
<quoted text>
YOU hired an expensive attorney...did you not realize the cost and time consuming efforts of a divorce? If she were delaying the process to up her billable hours, wouldn't you have changed lawyers or challenged the charges?
Weak. The client who chooses to pay a higher dollar is expected to know the ins and outs of what took you 7 years of higher education?

Higher dollar should mean 'lethal' tatics, swift actions and VERY sound advice .. & possibly ethics?

Nancy Grace went back to work after having hers ... what's your story?
Savannah

Canton, OH

#27 Aug 19, 2008
My sentiments exactly!
courtwatcher

Park Ridge, NJ

#28 Aug 21, 2008
Kaiser Socia wrote:
<quoted text>
Weak. The client who chooses to pay a higher dollar is expected to know the ins and outs of what took you 7 years of higher education?
Higher dollar should mean 'lethal' tatics, swift actions and VERY sound advice .. & possibly ethics?
Nancy Grace went back to work after having hers ... what's your story?
What? Kaiser Socia and Savannah - I would have thought that after dealing with a divorce and Michelle Smithern (and apparently a civil suit) you would have learned something - you are both clueless.

A client who chooses to pay a "higher dollar" is paying for the name on the door and its overhead for marketing such a name.

"Lethal tactics" is not synonymous with "ethics". You got exactly what you paid for if you expected this from Michelle Smithern.

If you know anything about any court system, then you know that no attorney can "swiftly" move through the court system - this due to the function of two parties, two attorneys and the court coordinating with each other - and in the court's view just because you choose to pay a "higher dollar" doesn't mean you get to the front of the line.

Finally, Kellie Anderson of the Summit County Adult Probation Department is not calling you back because you were not the victims. Buckingham Doolittle was the victim of Michelle Smithern's crime. Michelle Smithern cashed the checks and kept the money for services billed by the firm.

Your only claim was that she was negligent on your behalf which is a tort and your only remedy is to sue her yourself - like others are doing. But good luck - she is back in foreclosure - bankruptcy is sure to follow.

Get a Clue!
Savannah

Canton, OH

#29 Aug 22, 2008
Kelli Anderson did return my call. I encourage people who feel they have been victimized to write their letters soon. It's not the amount of money Smithern collected, it's how she did her job. She was a thief and irresponsible. Buckingham, Doolittle, and Burroughs are not the only victims. To enter into a civil suit would be absurd given the circumstances.
Kaiser Socia

Canton, OH

#30 Aug 22, 2008
courtwatcher wrote:
<quoted text>
A client who chooses to pay a "higher dollar" is paying for the name on the door and its overhead for marketing such a name.
Disagree. I've paid a higher dollar & in turn recieved 'lethal' tatics, swift actions and VERY sound advice.

The opposition's attorney quit the case and the next one eventually refused to meet w/ the client w/out a witness. The suit was eventually dropped.

I paid for more than marketing. I paid for a blitzkrieg. My problem went away.
Kaiser Socia

Canton, OH

#31 Aug 22, 2008
courtwatcher wrote:
I couldn't agree more with the HonestLawyer. Make a difference -send a message.
Michelle committed a serious crime, breached her fiduciary duty, and has hurt a lot of people in doing so. Probation should not be an option. If you are a victim or have been impacted by Michelle Smithern's willful disregard for the integrity of the legal profession, contact the Summit County Probation Department and let your voice be heard.
Summit County Adult Probation Department
53 University Avenue
Akron OH, 44308
Courtwatcher,

This is VERY contradictary to your previous posts on 7/31/08 & 8/22/08 no?

you asked that people "Make a difference --send a message."

"Michelle committed a serious crime, breached her fiduciary duty, and has hurt a lot of people in doing so."

"...contact the Summit County Probation Department and let your voice be heard."

"No sympathy here - think about the impact of the people who she stole from - I am not just talking about the firm (they got their money back through the insurance). "

- Thanks for your advice on 7/31 that seems to have taken a horrible turn.

- KonfusederSoSay???
GrowUp

Allendale, MI

#32 Sep 2, 2008
Reading these posts, for the most part, makes me repulsed to be a part of the human race.

What Michelle Smithern did was wrong. But reveling in another person's downfall is also wrong (even if they deserve "what's coming to them").

This woman, whatever your opinion of her, has a family and children. And you all seem to be joyous over their fates, ridiculing like a pack of 12-year-olds...

Just because your vocabulary is more advanced and your cynical jokes are more intelligently derived does not make them amusing. It only highlights your immaturity.

Don't you all have something better to do with your time than to bash people over the internet, getting a sick and twisted joy out of another family's pain?

Take the high road. Be glad that justice is being served. But don't be glad that a family is going to lose their home and possibly their mother, for a time.

Grow up.
I know her well

Dubois, IN

#33 Sep 6, 2008
Is anyone from here planning on being in the courtroom Wednesday for the sentencing hearing at 9:30? I had orginally planned to, but have an out of town conflict and want to know what the judge has to say to her.

Courtwatcher, while I agree with some of your points (an attorney not having control over the swiftness of the system, and most especially ethics not being synonomous with lethal tactics) there were many victims besides BB&D.

You can bet that Michelle's negligence of her client's interest during this time was in large part a result of her embezellment and the related attention-sapping activities of covering up a criminal act and all the mental energy devoted to self-rationalization of her actions rather than attending to the needs of her desperate clients. Not to mention the underlying life issues that provoked the original theft.(Which from talking to a couple people I suspect had more to do with a sense of entitlement and some misplaced resentment she had toward BB&D more than anything else....).

In any event, Courtwatcher, I have no way of knowing when Kaiser Socia or Savannah used Michelle or if their experiences with her may be relevant to the sentencing, but I would not be so automatically dismissive.... your previous advice was so elegant and rational, you last entry abrupt and full of pique and irritation.

Based on this, I have decided you must be a judge.
Max

Brook Park, OH

#34 Sep 12, 2008
What happened in court on 9/10?
Honest Lawyer

United States

#35 Sep 15, 2008
Sentencing has been continued until October 23 at 9:30 in order to give the parties time to review the issue of restitution.
used2Brich

Millsboro, DE

#36 Oct 19, 2008
For those of us who were not a part of the charges in the criminal case (Smithern charged me for discovery items never done, which the consequent delays impacted my case all the way through, even after I switched attorneys) the only justice would be sentencing. I couldn't figure out why it was so expensive and impossible to get certain documents and evidence when I had Smithern, but the second attorney got it in 10 days for time charges in the hundreds, not thousands, for the very same documents. After I found out what she had been doing with others, it made complete sense.

What lousy luck to have used her when she decided to stop being a good lawyer. I had used her a number of years before and she was great back then.
chip

AOL

#37 Oct 21, 2008
smithern was nothing but a bottom feeding, ambulance chasing attorney. she was out of control in dragging up cases that should have been minor. she thrived on dragging out issues and fabricating things in cases that never existed. she deserves jail time, with hard core cons, so she can enjoy orange jumpsuits, hard bunks and scabby women who will have their time with her. bye, bye michelle, hope 10/23 is your day in hell
curious

United States

#38 Oct 23, 2008
does anyone know how the sentencing went today? or was it postponed again?
chip

AOL

#39 Oct 23, 2008
i am also waiting for the word on her sentence. the summit county clerk of courts has not posted it yet to their website(as of 9:24 pm 10/23). i can't wait, and by the way, "grow up", since you are repulsed to be part of the human race, too bad. there are methods to cease that relationship. smithern is a rotten egg, a bad apple and probably not a good role model for her kids, and hopefully will get long, hard jail time. how fitting! you can send her care packages while she's at marysville in an orange jumpsuit.
curious

United States

#40 Oct 24, 2008
she got 12 months but it was suspended w/ 5 years probabtion and has to pay back the money.

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