Friday, July 29, 2011

The Lure Of D.C.

The District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility has recommended a three-year suspension with fitness of an attorney who had practiced in the Superior Court taking court appointments until the court created a CJA panel and rejected his application. He then left for Canada, but

Respondent returned to the District of Columbia when he learned that the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct would permit him to solicit clients. As the evidence during the hearing showed, he also believed that those rules allowed him to enter into agreements with clients that narrowly defined the extent and nature of his representation, without fully explaining those limitations to his clients, and permitted him (i) to refuse to provide any service beyond that set forth in the initial retainer agreement unless additional compensation was paid regardless of the consequences to his clients, (ii) to refuse to provide any services if his clients did not pay his full fee, and (iii) to keep whatever fee he was paid regardless of the level of work performed. In addition, Respondent did not recognize any obligation to assure that his clients were not harmed when he withdrew, or to at least minimize any such harm. Respondent also demonstrated a cavalier attitude toward his obligation to deal honestly and forthrightly with the courts. He failed to appear on time, dissembled, if not lied, to judges, and otherwise did not demonstrate the respect expected of lawyers when dealing with the courts.

The board indicated that if it "was writing on a clean slate"  it would impose disbarment.

 The case is In re Samad and can be found at this link. (Mike Frisch)

 

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