Shana Buchanan, extremely lazy Twin Cities lawyer, could be disbarred

Categories: Law
Shana Gail Buchanan.jpg
UPDATE: Shana Buchanan was struck by a Green Line train in late August 2014. Hers is the first fatality recorded since the Green Line opened that June. Metro Transit released a statement concerning the incident, disclosing that "this is the third instance in which a Green Line train has contacted a pedestrian."

If the allegations made by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board are true, Shana Gail Buchanan had a pretty nice racket going for herself.

Over the past three years, Buchanan repeatedly agreed to take on a client's appeal, got paid -- then did absolutely no legal work and ignored her clients' efforts to communicate with her.

This couldn't go on forever, of course, and now the Responsibility Board is seeking public discipline against her -- meaning she could be disbarred from practicing law in Minnesota.

Four cases are highlighted in the petition for disciplinary action recently filed against Buchanan. In one, she agreed to represent someone during appeal who was convicted of first-degree murder -- pretty serious stuff. She accepted a retainer of $7,500, which was paid in full by May 2010. Yet she didn't do any legal work on her client's behalf for five months after getting paid, at which time she requested an additional $150 from her client to cover filing fees. The client inadvertently sent her two $150 checks, but instead of returning one of them, Buchanan cashed both.

By November of that year, despite repeated orders from the state Supreme Court to file briefs in the matter, Buchanan still hadn't done any work on the case. After she was finally removed as counsel, she failed to respond to requests to return transcripts to the convict's new attorney for months. At various points, she cited her ill health, lack of experience, and/or her grandmother's death to explain her utter failure to get anything done.

As the petition notes:
[Buchanan] ultimately failed to perform any legal services on behalf of [her client]... [Buchanan] has failed to refund the original $7,500 retainer for the appeal, the $1,500 she was paid to seek post-conviction relief, or the $300 duplicate payments for filing fees.
8th circuit seal.jpg
After one of her incommunicado spells, 8th circuit judges directed the court clerk to keep Buchanan out of their court.
In another instance from around the same time, Buchanan agreed to represent a man who was convicted of wire fraud, money laundering, and failure to file income taxes during his appeal. Months after she had been paid over $5,000 by the client in May 2010, she still hadn't done any legal work. She repeatedly asked the court for extensions because, she said, she was busy relocating her law office -- a relocation that apparently took her months to complete. Finally, in October, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals removed her from the case. Appalled by her performance (or lack thereof), the judges went as far as ask the court clerk to "remove Ms. Buchanan's name from the roster of [attorneys] eligible for appointment to cases in this court." Despite doing nothing, she still to this day hasn't refunded any of the nearly $10,000 she received from that client, the petition says. 

To top it all off, some of Buchanan's alleged misconduct actually occurred after she lost her authorization to practice law due to failure to pay attorney registration fees.

According to MinnLawyer, Buchanan has until the middle of this month to respond to the petition, after which the Minnesota Supreme Court will presumably make a decision about whether to disbar her. And if the past is precedent, she'll almost surely fail to respond to the petition in time.

According to her website, Buchanan graduated from William Mitchell in 2004 and founded her own practice in 2006. Her story serves as a reminder that just because someone passes the bar exam doesn't mean they''ll perform competently as an attorney. Or, in Buchanan's case, perform at all.

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She does a fast job of defending herself against allegations. Sorry to those that retained an attorney to busy to properly represent them, but never to busy to cash the incoming checks. 


She's probably more like the "Status Quo"...........She could work out West in Oregon where I was a P.O. This is normal behavior out there........


You are reading allegations; and nothing more.  I was appointed to the Federal C.J.A. appeals panel in May 2007;  In four appeals I drafted to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, I was granted oral argument; this occurs in only 20% of written briefs file. The first time i drafted a petition for rehearing, i was granted en banc review; Of some 15, 000 or more briefs filed annually- 2 are heard en banc (meaning the entire court) Additionally, the first Petition for Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court I wrote- the Court responded by requiring the United States Government file a response, an act that increases nine fold the liklihood of review before the United States Supreme. 

I f you are asked to write a criminal appeal; and you brief 10 issues as compared to 2, it require s additional time.  IN United States vs. Oaks, I argued 10 issue before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals; and was granted oral argument lasting over 45 minutes; normally an attorney argues for 15-20 minutes.

I am not a lazy attorney; I work too hard on behalf of each client; often times resulting in delayed filing.  Keep in mind my clients are serving sentences between 20 years to life imprisonment.  I am so thorough in my work I do not make enough money per hour.

The allegation in the petition are just that; allegations. It is my job to enforce the rule of law in this country against the governmetn that requires people are innocent until proven guilty.

Please learn all facts before blasting my name as lazy; I am a former 6th cgrade teacher in Minneapolis Public Schools; a counselor for Hennpepin County Juvenile Probation; a graduate of Saint Paul Central High School; and a single mother of a 12 year old boy. I have roots in teh community and care deeply for people; including the under-privileged and persons convicted of crimes. 

You are telling portion of the whole story- and in so doing bashing an honest hard working, talented young lawyer-  foolishly.

Yours Truly, Shana G. Buchanan


This doesnt surprise me at all. I hired a lawyer one time for an insane amount of money because I was in a vulnerable moment and he did very little work on my behalf and made a boat load of money. Before I hired him he convinced me that we were going to make this "problem" go away and that I was in good hands. Then when the actual court dates came about he convinced me that I should take the first offer and not fight the charges because I would probably go to jail if I didnt. I wouldnt doubt if the guy spent more then 2 hrs of his time on the case. greedy bastard ended up dying a year later. Karma is a bitch huh.   


Shana, you are a disgrace. And now, it appears you have the composition skills of a 4th grader. Billy Mitchell holds its head in SHAME.


Is this real? For the love of typos I believe it isn't.


Actually, on second read I do believe the response was really written by Shana Buchanan. Shana, if you'd like to talk about the allegations, I'm happy to speak with you. The allegations in the petition are so detailed and so indicative of a pattern of behavior that it's hard to believe they could be explained away. And for the record, I tried to reach you for comment at the number listed on your website before publishing this story, but that number "is no longer in service."  Anyway, e-mail me at arupar at citypages dot com if you'd like to talk and we'll run a follow-up piece.


I look forward to that follow-up piece. True in any profession, the unethical ones give the good ones a bad rap. Attorneys in particular are hired by individuals at vulnerable moments in their lives, this type of unethical behavior breeds distrust in a profession that requires complete trust. It is shameful. There are many excellent, ethical attorneys in the field, if you need one, do your due diligence before you hire one.

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