Disciplinary Grievances Against Practitioners - page 3

Compendium Summaries
I.
Candor Toward the Court
Practitioners shall not knowingly "make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or
fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the
lawyer."
Model Rule 3.3(a)(1). In one case, the Court considered a matter where an attorney
insisted in Court filings that a claim had been pending with the Secretary for years when it had in
fact been adjudicated.
II.
Communication
(
See also
Privileged Communications)
A.
Communicating with Prospective Clients.
1.
A practitioner should comply with the advertising rules in the Model
Rules, which may not be the same as the rules regarding advertising and
solicitation in other jurisdictions where the practitioner is admitted.
For
example, envelopes containing solicitation letters should be labeled as
"advertising materials."
See
Model Rule 7.3(c). The Court has privately
admonished attorneys for failing to mark envelopes as "advertising
materials," regardless of whether the attorney's home jurisdiction also
required such.
2.
Lawyers who fail to communicate with prospective clients after soliciting
them and then receiving from them an expression of interest, may be
violating their ethical duties.
If the practitioner determines that he or she
does not wish to represent the prospective client, the lawyer should inform
the prospective client of his or her decision not to take the case. In one
case, attorneys sent mailings soliciting clients and then failed to respond to
persons who signed and returned a representation consent agreement and
an information release agreement. In a non-disciplinary warning letter, the
Court advised the attorneys that failure to notify prospective clients that an
attorney had declined to take a case may fall short of ethics requirements.
In another case, the Court sent a non-disciplinary warning letter to an
attorney who notified a prospective client of her decision to decline
representation until just days before the filing deadline.
B.
Communicating with Current Clients.
1.
Failing to consistently communicate with a client about the status of his or
her case may violate Model Rule 1.4.
In one case, an attorney failed to file
a statement of the issues for the Rule 33 conference, and subsequently
failed to respond to multiple show cause orders to do so. The client
dismissed the attorney after independently learning that the Court had
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