August 18, 2009
What Clients Want
A Louisiana hearing committee has recommended that disciplinary charges against a lawyer be dismissed. After a previous suspension, the lawyer confirmed with a district attorney that a criminal matter against his client be dismissed. The committee found that the interchange did not rise to the level of unauthorized practice ("If a lay person had contacted the DA to learn the status of [his] intent to dismiss a charge, such conduct would be permissible and would not involve legal advocacy") or violate Rule 3.4 or other charged rules.
In the other matter, the hearing committee found that a two-month delay in proceeding with a child custody did not amount to an ethical violation: "Although all clients want their issue handled immediately, if not sooner, a two-month delay is hardly an ethical violation and it is highly doubtful it could even be considered malpractice."
The committee concluded that any violations were de minimus and that a letter of public reprimand is appropriate if any violation is found on review. (Mike Frisch)
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