On Your Side Investigation: Clients told to get a new attorney after Springfield lawyer’s interim suspension

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 6:36 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Dozens are wondering what to do after their attorney was temporarily stopped from practicing law.

As we first reported, an On Your Side Investigation revealed Springfield lawyer Ryan Reynolds is accused of having a drug problem.

Clients say he traded drugs for legal services and he was under the influence during a criminal jury trial. Reynolds denies the claims.

“Kind of scary, but the world is crazy right now. I know that we paid him so we just want what we paid for,” said Tabatha Altic.

Her husband is behind bars. They hired Ryan Reynolds. Her husband was supposed to have a hearing on Monday. It didn’t happen. Instead, she got a letter from Reynolds with the Missouri Law Company. He explains his license is currently suspended. The letter goes on to say ‘you will need to make arrangements for representation by a new lawyer or law firm.’ He says he’ll cooperate with new counsel.

“I would like our case taken care of without us having to pay anymore. But I want someone who wants to do the case,” she said.

“With two hundred clients it will be a messy process,” said Michael Downey.

Downey is an ethics lawyer in St. Louis. He says Reynolds’ interim suspension will have a trickle effect in the court system.

“The larger system will try to minimize that, but obviously, particularly during COVID, things are already disrupted. When you throw in something like this, there will an impact on the clients,” Downey said.

Reynolds filed a response to his suspension. It says he attempted to ‘self-treat with street drugs’ because he’s a veteran ‘diagnosed with PTSD’.

One year ago, he tested positive for morphine. A few weeks ago, his drug test was negative.

In the document, he mentions his workload, 215 matters pending. He’s in court every day of the week. Twenty-five pending felony cases. Six trials scheduled.

Right now, he doesn’t have access to the court filing system. Which makes it ‘virtually impossible’ to withdraw himself from cases.

Reynolds has an attorney for his suspension case. He denied our request for an interview.

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