Monday, November 2, 2009
The California Bar Journal reports on the following discipline case:
[An attorney] was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect April 11, 2009.
[The attorney] stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently while representing a minor who was charged with murder. He had a fee agreement with the child’s grandmother that called for a fee of $25,000; $10,000 was due immediately and the remainder was due “ASAP.”
The day he was hired, the grandmother paid $10,000 and told him her grandson’s arraignment was the following day. [The attorney] did not appear because he had not received the full fee. The hearing was continued for three days, and although [he] went to the courthouse, he intentionally did not appear, again because the grandmother had not paid the full fee.
[The attorney] met with the alternate defense counsel who represented the defendant at both hearings and received the police report and other information. He met the client once. The grandmother fired him.
According to the stipulation, [the attorney] “intentionally did not provide
… the pre-trial services” for which the grandmother had contracted. Twenty months after he was fired, he refunded $8,000.