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Court Says Lawyers Overbilled Sick Veteran

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- The Iowa Supreme Court has suspended two lawyers for charging excessive fees to a mentally ill Vietnam veteran whose affairs they helped manage for three decades.
   The court said Keota law partners Donald Laing and Scott Railsback claimed too many hours for managing the conservatorship of John Klein and charged excessive rates for performing services that didn't require legal training. Justices suspended the licenses of Laing and Railsback for 18 months.
   Laing was appointed Klein's conservator in 1974 after Klein inherited farmland and other property from his mother's death. He didn't have a legal guardian, and Laing and Railsback helped care for him.
   The court says the attorneys "sincerely attempted to make Klein's life better" but went wrong in applying for excessive fees, even if a judge approved them annually.

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