July 23, 2008
"The Seven Deadly Sins of Conflict"
An Arizona attorney provided legal services to a client who did not understand English. The attorney mistook the client's intent to obtain a divorce rather than separation, did not acheive the client's objectives and placed a lien for fees against the client's property. The attorney had a disciplinary record of two prior censures and two prior probations for "offenses not of the same sort..." A hearing officer accepted an agreed discipline proposal for censure number three but cautioned that the attorney "would be well advised not to tempt fate in the future."
The Arizona Disciplinary Commission, on review, recommends censure, one year of probation, and completion of a course entitled "The Seven Deadly Sins of Conflict." The hearing officer's report is appended. (Mike Frisch)
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As described, what the lawyer did - not realizing that his client didn't speak English and then proceeding to represent the client as if he were carrying out the client's instructions - is hard to believe. One would think that a lawyer should be able to form an accurate judgment about whether the client and lawyer are able to communicate clearly and reliably. I'm not sure what good "The Seven Deadly Sins of Conflict" will do. Is a course in common sense available?
Posted by: W.R. Chambers | Jul 23, 2008 8:47:04 AM