Articles Posted in Legal Ethics

The Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, recently affirmed the decision of a lower court, dismissing a legal malpractice action. In Davidson v. Gurewitz, a father sued an attorney, who had served as a Court appointed child representative in the father’s custody battle with the child’s mother.

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The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently disbarred an attorney, for practicing law while he was still serving a suspension for prior unethical conduct. In the Matter of Paul F Coddington, Jr, an attorney was suspended for professional misconduct and was subsequently hired by a law firm as a paralegal. The attorney falsely told his employer that he had applied to have his license reinstated. Thus, relying on this information, a lawyer at the firm permitted him to represent a client in court and handle cases.

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The Vermont Professional Responsibility Board has ordered that an attorney receive a public reprimand for violating multiple Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct. In the matter of John Burke, the estate of a deceased Ohio man hired a Vermont attorney to assist in transferring property in Vermont owned by the decedent to his son. Continue reading

The Supreme Court of Kansas has disbarred an attorney for his conduct as defense counsel in a capital murder case. In the Matter of Hawver, a Kansas attorney represented a criminal defendant accused of murder, despite having no prior experience trying capital murder cases. He also did not associate with competent co-counsel, or obtain additional training or education to become competent.

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The Supreme Court of Nebraska has suspended an attorney for an indefinite term after finding that she disclosed confidential information about a client.  In re Donna J. Tonderum, a Nebraska attorney informed a prosecutor that she believed one of her former clients was guilty of a crime.

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The Supreme Court of Louisiana has disbarred an attorney after finding that he failed to refund unearned attorney’s fees to 26 clients.  In re Charles Tanner Phillips, II, a Louisiana attorney accepted and kept attorney’s fees from multiple clients, but did not perform any substantive legal work in return.

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The Supreme Court of Wisconsin has suspended an attorney after finding that he engaged in unethical conduct.  In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Kratz, a Wisconsin district attorney met with the victim of domestic abuse to discuss the case, which he was prosecuting against her ex-boyfriend.  After the meeting, the attorney and the victim exchanged personal cell phone numbers. Over the following three days, the attorney sent the woman 30 text messages, some of which contained sexually explicit language that the woman felt was offensive.

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The Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals (“Board”) has disbarred an attorney after he was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with his operation of an investment scam.  In the Matter of Roger Lee Shoss, an attorney created fraudulent business entities using the names of corporation’s companies, which were still listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, but had lost their corporate status, due to their failure to pay taxes.

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The Indiana Supreme Court has placed an attorney on probation, after finding that she withdrew unearned funds from her client trust account.  In the Matter of Jennifer L. Graham, an attorney wrote a check to herself from her client trust account in the amount of $1,100, and wrote the words “HELP ME” next to the check number in her account ledger book.  A few days later, she wrote another check in the amount of $550 with the same phrase written in the ledger.  When she presented the second check for payment, it was dishonored.  She repaid the $1,100 several days later.

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