October 23, 2007
Thy Partners Keeper
A lawyer in South Carolina had a partner with an active bankruptcy practice. The partner was suspended in 2004, as the partner "undertook representation of more bankruptcy clients than [the partner] could competently and diligently handle..." The lawyer, in anticipation of the suspension, attempted to transfer the bankruptcy cases to another lawyer in a different firm. He presented a consent order to the bankruptcy judge authorizing the transfer, but In doing so, he violated ethics rules relating to client confidentiality and proper withdrawal from representation. He also was primarily responsible for the firm's escrow account, which was out of balance. He made up the shortfall by leaving earned fees in the account.
The South Carolina Supreme Court accepted an agreed disposition of a 30 day suspension. One of the violations acknowledged in the consent was "conduct tending to pollute the administration of justice." (Mike Frisch)
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