January 19, 2012
The Michigan Attorney Discipline Board has agreed with a Hearing Panel's decision that a 35 month suspension was the appropriate discipline for an attorney who had failed to provide competent representation to a couple that had retained the attorney in an adoption proceeding. The attorney also failed to communicate with the clients, made misrepresentations and "counseled [the clients] on how to regain the child by illegally offering money to the birth parents in exchange for their consent to adoption..."
The misconduct resulted in the "state's almost forcible removal of the child from the [clients'] custody after they had raised the child from birth to the age of two years and nine months."
Beyond the misconduct, the board noted that "respondent's problem appears to be an inclination to overcommit herself, both in terms of time and in competence which here resulted in disastrous consequences." Any reinstatement will "probe whether respondent has become appropriately self aware, and perhaps taken steps to address these issues." (Mike Frisch)
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