Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reward Without Risk Leads To Suspension

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has imposed a suspension of a year and a day of an attorney who had charged a contingent fee where recovery was a certainty. The attorney was aware that the client was the named beneficiary of an annuity.

According to this summary on the web page of the Board of Bar Overseers:

By entering into an agreement for, charging, and collecting a contingent fee for filing
a claim for an annuity when there was no contingency, the respondent charged a clearly
excessive fee in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.5(a). By failing to explain to his client in
advance of entering into the contingent-fee agreement that he had already discovered the
existence of the annuity for which she was a beneficiary, the respondent failed to explain a
matter to the extent necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the
representation in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4(b). By concealing from his client that he
was already aware of the existence of the annuity naming her as a beneficiary before entering
into the contingent-fee agreement, the respondent engaged in conduct involving dishonesty,
fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c). In aggravation,
the respondent had substantial experience in the practice of law, and a selfish motive for the

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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