April 6, 2012
The Iowa Supreme Court has imposed a thirty day suspension of an attorney who had closed his practice in May 2010.
The attorney accepted a non-refundable $2,500 retainer to represent a client on state criminal charges. The state charges were dismissed when federal charges were brought, which the attorney did not handle. He nonetheless removed the full fee from his trust account and refused to refund any portion.
The court found that the fee was unreasonable and that its removal from the trust account violated ethical rules.
Further, the attorney was "uncooperative and unapologetic." He '[a]lmost defiantly, but without support...maintained that the fee was not unreasonable."
The title is an homage to my friend and erstwhile colleague Ross Dicker's favorite lawyer joke: what is the difference between a rooster and a lawyer? (Mike Frisch)
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