Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Superior Intellect Does Not Assure Competence

A Colorado Hearing Board has ordered a one year and a day suspension of an attorney for misconduct in the course of representing a criminal defendant. The board rejected the attorney's claim that he had complied with a limited representation agreement and provided competent legal services. One area of concern:

A final basis for concern is Respondent’s apparent view that he satisfies the responsibility of providing zealous representation because he can “outthink” his opposing counsel. As discussed above, although Respondent attended several hearings and conducted interviews on behalf of Robinson, there is little other evidence of legal work that Respondent performed on Robinson’s behalf, despite being paid $3,300.00. While Respondent may have a superior intellect, that alone does not assure compliance with Colo. RPC 1.1.

Another concern:

At the hearing, Respondent’s demeanor was erratic, while his testimony and arguments often were difficult to follow and at times were incoherent. The Hearing Board recognizes that the stress of defending oneself in a disciplinary hearing could contribute to such difficulties. Nevertheless, we are concerned that if Respondent continues to practice law, an underlying physical or mental condition could affect the quality of [his] representation of future clients.

The attorney thus must submit to an independent medical exam for reinstatement. (Mike Frisch)


Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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