March 21, 2012
Threat Draws Admonition
The New Jersey Supreme Court has directed its Disciplinary Review Board to issue a letter of admonition to an attorney who threatened a client with criminal charges to obtain an improper advantage in a civil matter.
The attorney was engaged in an attempt to collect a fee. He sent the client a letter excerpted here:
[I]f I do not receive payment [in two days] I will be forced to file a Complaint in Civil Court and will file criminal charges for theft of services against you. Should I be forced to take this action, you will incur additional costs.
The client testified that she was "pretty upset" about the threat and contacted the attorney to send her a bill.
The attorney also did not have a writing setting forth the basis and rate of his fees. (Mike Frisch)
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