Monday, May 21, 2012
A justice of the Maine Supreme Court has imposed a public reprimand of attorney who exceeded the scope of services for which he had been retained.
The attorney and client had executed a retainer agreement that specified that the scope of the services was to seek a divorce. The client was ultimately responsibile for the fees, although the attorney agreed to seek payment from the opposing party husband. When the fees got out of hand, the client instructed the attorney to dismiss the divorce petition.
The client filed a bar complaint. The attorney sued her in small claims court, where the two had "dispatate views of the quality and cost of the representation he provided her." A bar arbitration action reduced the attorney's fee by a significant amount.
The misconduct involved fee charges for actions beyond the divorce case. The attorney exceeded the scope of the representation by charging the client in connection with an abuse proceeding and counseling her in the criminal assault case brought against her husband. (Mike Frisch)