Disciplinary Grievances Against Practitioners - page 4

issued a show cause order as to why the appeal should not be dismissed.
The attorney then failed to file a compliant withdrawal motion. The Court
publicly reprimanded the attorney for, among other misconduct, failing to
communicate the status of the case to the client. The attorney was also
disciplined by the state bar. In another case, the Court considered a matter
where an attorney failed to notify his client of a final decision by the Court
before the time period for a motion for reconsideration had passed.
2.
Misleading a client about the status of his or her case may violate Model
Rules 1.4(a)(3) and 8.4(c) because it is not "keep[ing] the client
reasonably informed about the status of the matter."
Practitioners should
not mislead or misrepresent a case's status to a client. In one case, the
Court suspended an attorney for two years because the attorney had told
the client that their case was dismissed for lack of merit, when in fact the
Court had dismissed the case for failure to prosecute.
3.
Failing to include all issues on appeal may violate Model Rule 1.2(a)
because a practitioner must "abide by a client's decisions concerning the
objectives of representation."
The Court has reviewed an allegation that
an attorney disregarded the client's instructions to appeal all medical
condition issues. If a practitioner strategically chooses not to include an
issue on appeal, he or she must "reasonably consult with the client about
the means by which the client's objectives are to be accomplished." Model
Rule 1.4(a)(2).
4.
A practitioner who withdraws from representing a client must take steps to
protect the client's interest, including giving reasonable notice of
withdrawal and allowing time for employment of other counsel.
Model
Rule 1.16(d). The Court has reviewed allegations that practitioners did not
provide sufficient guidance to clients on how to file a timely motion for
reconsideration or panel review, or ask for an extension, in conjunction
with a motion for withdrawal.
C.
Staying Apprised of a Client's Life/Death Status and Notification when a
Client Dies.
1.
The Court expects practitioners to keep reasonably apprised of their
client's life/death status.
If practitioners learn that a client has died,
practitioners are required to promptly alert the Court and opposing
counsel.
See
P&P Rule 43(a)(2) (requiring notification to the Court);
ABA Formal Opinion 95-397 (requiring notification to opposing counsel).
See also
Model Rules 1.1, 3.3(a)(1), 4.1. In one case, an attorney allegedly
knew that the client had died, but continued representation and filed
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