The ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct™ is a trusted resource that helps attorneys understand cases and decisions that directly impacts their work, practice ethically, and...
Oct. 8 — Bar authorities had no basis for finding that a lawyer engaged in misconduct by skipping hearings that a client asked him not to attend in light of the terms of their limited-scope representation agreement, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided Oct. 8.
A disciplinary panel's finding that attorney “A.B.” engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice when he failed to attend “four consecutive hearings” cannot stand because it “rested on a clearly erroneous factual finding,” the court said in a per curiam opinion.
A.B. “was not required to appear” at those hearings, the court said, because he “was no longer the attorney of record” when they occurred or had been instructed not to attend “pursuant to the terms of a limited-scope legal representation, the propriety of which [bar counsel] does not challenge.”
Accordingly, the court reversed a finding that A.B. violated Minnesota Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(d) and vacated the admonition imposed as a sanction.
Bar counsel also cited A.B.'s failure to “communicate to the court … that his representation agreement with [the client] excluded court appearances” as support for the charge that he “wasted the court's time” and thus engaged in conduct prohibited by Rule 8.4(d).
“[A.B.] argues that he was under no obligation to inform the court that his representation of [the client] was limited in scope,” the opinion states.
Although the court did not specifically address that issue, it noted that the judge in the underlying proceedings—a marital dissolution case—issued a decree dismissing A.B. as attorney of record three weeks after his one and only appearance in the matter.
“Under these circumstances, we vacate the admonition because A.B.'s conduct was neither prejudicial to the administration of justice nor warranted discipline,” the court concluded.
Director Martin A. Cole and Senior Assistant Director Kevin Slator, St. Paul, Minn., represented the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility. James C. Whelpley, Roseville, Minn., represented A.B.
Copyright 2014, the American Bar Association and The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)