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33 other complaints bring Bar reprimand

St. Petersburg lawyer Lauren A. Sill agreed last month to accept a public reprimand from the Florida Bar for her handling of numerous guardianships and estates.

At one time Pinellas County's busiest guardianship lawyer, Sill was charged last year with 33 counts of misconduct _ mostly minor allegations of procrastination or sloppy bookkeeping. Bar investigators had spent several years examining her books and caseload.

Sill declined comment for this story. Her attorney, Ed Foreman, characterized the Bar's disciplinary action as vindication for Sill, who has come under criticism in several St. Petersburg Times stories about guardianship in the past five years.

The first two cases heard by a Bar referee were dismissed for insufficient evidence, Foreman said. Then the Bar dropped six other counts. Rather than continue expensive and time-consuming hearings on the remaining counts, Foreman said, Sill and the Bar agreed to the reprimand, the lightest punishment for lawyers.

"If a reprimand is the only thing administered for 33 separate cases, it leads me to believe that wrongdoing, if any, can't be very much," Foreman said. "Nobody ever wants a reprimand, but it is as minor as anything gets."

A complaint lodged against Sill by her aunt's family was not part of the 33-count case.