Monday, May 16, 2016

Compound Interest Charges Violate Rule 1.5

The Wyoming Supreme Court has adopted the report and recommendation of its Board on Professional Responsibility and imposed a public censure of an attorney who, among other things, had charged a clearly excessive fee by requiring payment of a 1 and a half percent interest on unpaid bills, compounded monthly.

Such an interest charge "was not reasonable under the circumstances."

The attorney also violated Rule 1.4 (communication) and Rule 1.15.

According to the board

Because of Respondent's lack of diligence in clearly communicating the fee arrangements, it is difficult to determine if Respondent knew or should have known he was dealing improperly with client property when he applied the $4,000 to fees and finance charges billed by Respondent several months prior to payment. However, given the timing of the transfer and the Respondent wrote "lawsuit" on the "for" line of the $4,000 check, the Board finds that Respondent knew or should have known that he was dealing improperly with the $4,000 payment when he directed his staff to apply the funds to prior billing statements.

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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