Friday, March 4, 2011
From the standpoint of attorney discipline, the most important rule is Rule 1.15. This truth is revealed today in a decision of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Failure to perform paid-for services led the attorney down a path to the ultimate sanction.
The attorney was disbarred for misappropriation of a total of $1,100 in two bankruptcy cases. He failed to deposit advanced fees into an escrow account and used unearned fees for his own purposes. He abandoned his practice without preforming the agreed services. Both clients complained to the Bar Counsel.
The attorney did his cause no benefit by failing to respond to the complaints. He defaulted on the charges and filed no exceptions to the adverse findings below. The court viewed the failure to participate in the proceedings as, along with the escrow violations, warranting the "gravest sanction."