Sunday, February 18, 2018

Thumbs Down: "You Need The Money, I Need The Money..."

A case that began with an anonymous email to the State Bar has resulted in the following consent sanction approved by the Arizona Presiding Disciplinary Judge

[Respondent] is reprimanded for his conduct in violation of the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct, as outlined in the consent documents, effective the date of this order.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED Mr. Thrasher shall be placed on probation for one (1) year. The only term of probation is that, in addition to his annual MCLE requirements, Mr. Thrasher shall complete six (6) hours of Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) on the subject of lawyer advertising. Mr. Thrasher shall provide the State Bar Compliance Monitor with evidence of completion of the program(s) by providing a copy of handwritten notes. Mr. Thrasher shall contact the Compliance Monitor at 602-340-7258 to make arrangements to submit this evidence. Mr. Thrasher shall be responsible for the cost of the CLE. Probation may terminate early if Respondent completes the ordered CLE before the end of one year.

A thumb drive was attached to the email that contained audio and video showing the attorney giving $16,000 in cash to a man in a wheelchair.

In response to the State Bar inquiry, Respondent confirmed that it was his voice on the thumb drive and that the man in the wheelchair was the founder of a non profit that assists the victims of spinal injuries. 

The $16,000 was a referral fee.

The audio/video also memorialized a discussion of another referral fee in a matter that had settled for $1.5 million. Respondent discussed the tax consequences of him paying $45,000 to the man in the wheelchair.

Respondent on tape; "You need the money, I need the money...two of these a year would be golden." (Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2018/02/a-case-that-began-with-an-anonymous-email-to-the-state-bar-has-resulted-in-the-following-consent-sanction-approved-by-the-ari.html

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