June 1, 2012
Not Flat But Special
The Iowa Supreme Court has issued a public reprimand of an attorney who attempted to expand his Colorado immigation practice into the Hawkeye state.
The attorney received what he called a flat fee from an immigration client. The court had a different description of the fee -- a special retainer. The attorney failed to treat the fee as entrusted and did not comply with rules governing unearned fees.
The court did make a rather interesting remark about allegations that the attorney violated advertising rules:
We choose not to address the Board's claim that [the attorney] violated our rules pertaining to lawyer advertising because even if we were to find that he did, we would not impose a greater sanction than is required for [his] trust account infractions...
Iowa has always had the most stringent rules on lawyer advertising. Is this comment a signal that the court may be softening its stance? (Mike Frisch)
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