Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Incompetent Service Makes Fee Excessive

The Maryland Court of Appeals has imposed an indefinite suspension of not less than six months of an attorney for misconduct in the operation of his IOLTA account and client-related misconduct.

In one matter where the court affirmed findings of incompetent representation, the court found the fee for services was unreasonable as a result and thus violated Rule 1.5: "In light of [the trial judge's] findings concerning Respondent's lack of competence and diligence in representing [the client] and the result obtained, it was not unreasonable for [the trial judge] also to find that the $2500 fee became excessive."

Concerning sanction:

Respondent did not diligently pursue his clients’ cases; he did not respond to his clients’ repeated requests for information about the status of their cases; he blamed his delay on his alleged clients’ failure to supply certain documentation rather than on his own idleness; and he did not respond to Bar Counsel’s inquiries. We recognize Respondent’s MS as a mitigating factor for his unresponsiveness towards Bar Counsel, though it does not altogether excuse his inaction.

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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