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South Dakota attorney suspended for violating conflict of interest rules

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PIERRE, S.D. -- An Avon-based attorney with offices across southeast South Dakota will be suspended from practicing law for one year, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The court found that Scott Swier violated three professional conduct rules by taking cases in conflict with the interests of former clients and failing to properly ensure the attorneys he employed didn't also participate in misconduct.

Swier's suspension will begin 30 days after an order is filed. If he pays $144,000 back to the estate and trust of a client he was disqualified from representing, his suspension will be reduced to six months.

The Disciplinary Board of the State Bar recommended to the Supreme Court following hearings on June 17 and Sept. 12 that Swier be publicly censured for his violations.

Before Swier can petition to be reinstated, he must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, complete a law office management course approved by the Supreme Court and reimburse the Unified Judicial System and the State Bar of South Dakota.