Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The Arizona Supreme Court found that attorneys within the firm missed deadlines, court dates and failed to communicate with clients among other transgressions. The court found the firm's managing partner failed to properly supervise the lawyers in question and, as a result, suspended him from practice for six months. You can read the court's order here.
The firm employed 250 people including 38 attorneys. The practice areas were criminal defense, bankruptcy and personal injury matters. The disciplined attorney did not represent clients but rather was responsible for firm management. One of the issues was severe case overload. Attorneys in the bankruptcy division carried 500 cases. One testified that her assigned caseload was 540 when she started with the firm. The attorney had a record of prior discipline for similar misconduct.
The court held that the Hearing Officer applied the appropriate standard and did not impose vicarious liability for the acts of subordinate attorneys. The attorney is precluded from sharing in profits or holding himself out as an attorney during the period of suspension.