CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte attorney has seemingly disappeared and now the state bar is taking action.

Many of Lyle Yurko's friends say they haven't seen him for months. Neither have his clients.

His friends are very concerned for him and they wish him the very best, said attorney Fredrick Winiker, who has been appointed trustee over Yurko's practice. It's very unusual. It's a process that is designed by the state bar to help address situations where there is a sole practitioner attorney.

Yurko is considered to be one of the most brilliant legal minds in the state. In 2004, Charlotte Magazine named him as one of the toughest lawyers in town.

According to an order from the North Carolina State Bar, it appears that Yurko has vanished, abandoning his law practice.

At Yurko's office Monday, property management inspected the office and would not say if he's been evicted.

I don't know if I can comment on that, said property manager Bernie Smith.

Yurko owns a home off Shady Bluff Drive. Neighbors say they have not seen him in weeks, although one told us some people came to clean the property a couple of weeks ago.

It's possible that Yurko is out of the country. A couple of years ago he married a woman in Vietnam and has spent considerable time in that country.

Whatever the reasons for his disappearance, the state bar fears that his clients will suffer. That's why the bar appointed Wininker to watch over the practice.

The danger is that they won't have adequate representation in the court system, Winiker said. They may not be advised of pending court dates and be assessed penalties by the court for failing to appear when it really was not their fault.

This is a sad matter where there are incarcerated clients with no lawyer. They paid for services and now have no attorney, said Claire Rauscher, head of the federal public defender office.

The bar association is urging Yurko's clients to contact Winiker at 704-333-8440 or e-mail

Some of Yurko's friends privately worry that he might have skipped town because of financial pressures. If that's the case, they say he might never come back.

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