Wednesday, February 28, 2007

No Self-Help Defense

The Michigan Attorney Discipline Board ordered a 180 day suspension of a lawyer who mishandled a client's retainer check. The attorney had cashed the check rather than escrow it. The hearing panel found that he had earned the fee prior to cashing the check, thus defeating charges of 678948_writing_check misappropriation from the client. However, the retainer was firm property and the failure to properly escrow the check in the firm's account violated the attorney's duty to the firm under the "third persons" language of Rule 1.15. The sanction was deemed appropriate even though the firm owed the attorney substantially more than the check amount because of a written agreement that the amounts due to the attorney were payable at the firm's discretion. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process, Law Firms | Permalink

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