Friday, August 10, 2018
A Panel of The Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct ordered a six-month suspension of an attorney who violated rules by missing a scheduled hearing.
The client proceedied alone
[Client] Ms. Kittler chose to go forward with the hearing. The hearing was held and the issue of marital debt was addressed.
The following day, July 11, 2017, Ms. Reece entered the offices of Judge Pierce. She spoke to Kristina Morgan, Judge Pierce's law clerk, and Ms. Sykes. Ms. Reece wished to apologize to Judge Pierce for her mistake in calendaring the hearing. Judge Pierce was in court at the time of Ms. Reece's visit. Ms. Reece jokingly stated that her client did better without her and told Ms. Morgan to tell Judge Pierce that she was good with her client. Ms. Morgan stated that she would relay thc message to Judge Pierce.
On July 18, 2017, Judge Pierce sent a letter to the Office of Professional Conduct reporting Ms. Reece's conduct. In her response to thc Formal Complaint, Ms. Reece stated that she was not present for the July 10 hearing as she inadvertently overlooked it in her calendar and was out of town in another matter. Upon return to her office, she found [opposing counsel] Ms. Pipkins' email and realized she missed the hearing. Ms. Reece admitted that she went to Judge Pierce's office on July I I with the intent to apologize to Judge Pierce and explain what had happened. Ms. Reece denied joking that her client did better without her, although she may have said something to the effect that her client came out ok in the hearing even though she was not there.
Ms. Reece's prior disciplinary record was considered by the panel as a factor in determining the appropriate sanction.