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Ex LeClairRyan General Counsel Matson Disbarred in Virginia

Nov. 18, 2020, 2:50 PM

The former general counsel of defunct law firm LeClairRyan agreed to be disbarred in Virginia in light of pending misconduct charges.

In doing so, Bruce Howard Matson acknowledged that “material facts upon which the allegations of Misconduct are pending are true,” the Nov. 16 order from the Virginia bar’s disciplinary board said.

Matson was appointed trustee for the liquidation trust of LandAmerica, a title insurance group, in 2009, and in 2015, was appointed wind-down trustee, according to Matson’s affidavit filed with the bar.

Matson was still associated with Richmond, Va., based LeClairRyan at the time.

Matson paid himself $1 million from the trust funds in early 2019, despite his fiduciary duties and the prohibition on paying out the trust funds before 2021, the affidavit said.

He also paid another lawyer helping with the liquidation $1.5 million, it said.

“It is my position that I disbursed the $2.5 million as discretionary bonuses,” Matson’s affidavit said.

He also paid himself more than $300,000 a few months after the initial payment.

Matson paid the money back after a financial advisory company involved in the liquidation process noticed the money was missing in August 2019, the affidavit said.

A disciplinary investigation ensued.

LeClair Ryan filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2019 after its partners voted to wind down the firm.

The firm reportedly struggled due to a lack of support for key practice groups and partner compensation that was in some cases excessive and unaligned with the firm’s billing scale.

Matson couldn’t be reached for comment.

The case is In re Matson, Va. State Bar, No. 20-033-117567, 11/17/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan in Washington at mstanzione@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com

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