August 8, 2007
A Massachusetts lawyer gave a free estate planning seminar at a seniors center that was attended by about 50 people. A widow who had not revised her will after the death of her husband arranged to meet with the attorney. She paid a flat fee of $7,500 for a revision of her estate plan. The fee was deemed an excessive fee for the work, consisting mostly of generating computer documents. The client decided that the attorney had not provided the help she had wanted and sought a refund. The attorney suggested arbitration. Eventually, the lawyer refunded half of the fee. However, the lawyer improperly sought and obtained the client's waiver of any claims against him.
The lawyer agreed to a suspension of three months. The balance of the fee, with interest, was repaid during the course of the bar discipline case. (Mike Frisch)
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