Saturday, November 25, 2017
An admonition is summarized on the web page of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers
The respondent was a new associate in the litigation department at a law firm. After an informal discussion in late December 2015 over lunch with a partner and a supervising attorney, the respondent mistakenly believed that he was authorized to post a job advertisement at local law schools for a law clerk position at the firm. The respondent did not show the advertisement to anyone at the firm before posting the job listing. In early January 2016, the respondent set up and conducted interviews with at least three law school graduates at the firm. The respondent did not notify the firm management in advance that he was scheduling or conducting the interviews, share the resumes and writing samples he had collected, or introduce the job candidates to any other lawyers at the firm.
During the interviews, the respondent requested that the job applicants prepare and submit supplemental writing samples based on actual client matters being handled by the respondent at the firm. The respondent provided to the job applicants documents from the clients’ files without first obtaining client consent to release confidential client documents to individuals who were not employed at the firm. The respondent did not inform his supervising attorneys that he was asking job applicants to submit supplemental writing samples based on actual client cases. On January 19, 2016, the respondent filed one supplemental writing sample, a motion to dismiss with supporting memorandum, with slight modifications, in a client matter pending in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
By improperly disclosing client confidential information without prior client consent, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.6(a).
The respondent was admitted to practice in 2010, and had received no prior discipline. The respondent, through the firm, reimbursed the job applicants for the time they spent on the writing assignments. The respondent has now opened his own law practice, and has found an experienced lawyer to act as a mentor. The respondent received an admonition for his conduct, based on his agreement to attend a continuing education program on ethics, and to contact the Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP) for assistance with his solo law office management practices.
Admonitions in Massachusetts do not identify the attorney. (Mike Frisch)