Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the description of the 2016 nightclub shooting.
OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A former metro attorney has been recently disbarred after continuing to run his law firm from jail.
Jay Silvernail was arrested for a shooting at Groovy’s nightclub in 2016.
In 2019, a jury of Silvernail’s peers found him guilty and he was sentenced to the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center in Cleveland County. LARC is a maximum security prison for men located in Lexington, Okla.
Silvernail told KFOR he served about 112 days between the LARC and the Oklahoma County Jail.
Of those 112 days, Silvernail said he continued practicing law for 77 days through a Department of Corrections-issued pay phone.
Silvernail said his parents would put money on his phone so he would be able to talk with family members and keep up-to-date on his practice.
It cost Silvernail 20 cents per minute to talk on the phone.
“It was expensive,” he said.
Silvernail handled between 60 and 70 clients. He said most of the time, he wasn’t giving legal advice, but more so directing them on their next steps.
All 60+ clients of his were handled though, according to Silvernail. He said there were six or seven other attorneys who “stepped up and took over cases for me.”
Silvernail added most of those cases were picked up at no charge to his clients.
Silvernail added he kept up with his clients not only to make sure they were taken care of, but because he didn’t think he would be incarcerated for as long as he was.
The Oklahoma Bar Association disagreed with his decision to continue practicing and filed a complaint with the Oklahoma Supreme Court in November of 2019.
“The OBA alleges that the criminal conviction itself, as well as Respondent’s [Silvernail] attempts to maintain his law practice while in custody, violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys licensed in Oklahoma,” the complaint from OBA stated.
Upon learning of the OBA’S complaint, Silvernail agreed to take steps to close his practice, according to the filing.
In August 2021, the Professional Responsibility Tribunal convened and found clear and convincing evidence that Silvernail violated several Rules of Professional Conduct.
The Tribunal recommended that Silvernail be suspended from the practice of law for two years and one day, with the suspension to begin immediately upon Silvernail’s release from custody, and that he pay the costs of associated with these disciplinary hearings.
As of June 28, the OBA has officially disbarred Silvernail.
Silvernail said he isn’t eligible to re-apply to practice until 2027.
Silvernail told KFOR he doesn’t regret his decision to continue practicing law while behind bars and if he had to do it all over again, he would.
“They’ve lost a really good attorney that was dedicated to them and his clients,” said Silvernail. “I wish they would change their mind.”
News 4 has reached out to the OBA and are expecting a response tomorrow morning. It will be posted here.