Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Strike Three

The Georgia Supreme Court rejected an attorney's third petition for voluntary discipline

In this third petition, William Leslie Kirby III (State Bar No. 220475) again seeks voluntary discipline in connection with his admitted misconduct in four separate State Bar matters, yielding violations of Rules 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, and 1.16 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct found in Bar Rule 4-102 (d). In adjudicating the previous two petitions, the Court first rejected the proposed imposition of a State Disciplinary Review Board reprimand and then rejected a proposed 30-day suspension, finding both sanctions insufficient given the gravity of Kirby’s pattern of misconduct. In the current petition, Kirby again requests the imposition of a State Disciplinary Review Board reprimand, but states that he is “willing to accept” a suspension of up to four months. The Special Master, who recommended acceptance of both prior petitions, recommends acceptance of this petition as well, with the imposition of a four-month suspension. As before, however, in light of the gravity of Kirby’s admitted misconduct, we again find that the proposed discipline is insufficient, and we therefore reject the petition.


While all indicators reflect that Kirby has taken the necessary steps to address the mental health and practice management problems that contributed to his misconduct, we are troubled that Kirby continues to insist on the appropriateness of sanctions that this Court has already rejected. And while the upper limit of what Kirby has declared himself “willing to accept” – a four-month suspension – has been held to be an acceptable sanction in two other cases with similar rule violations, both of those cases involved misconduct committed in only a single client matter...

In light of the pattern of misconduct at issue, assessed against the backdrop of the above precedent, we conclude that the proposed discipline is insufficient, and we therefore reject Kirby’s petition.

(Mike Frisch)


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