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Family Lawyers in Trouble; Recent Ethics Decisions By Paul L. Feinstein Updated: September 04, 2014

As matrimonial attorneys in difficult financial times, with evolving and varied legal issues and having to deal with nasty litigants and opposing counsel, it is always important to not cross the line between ethical and unethical behavior. Domestic relations lawyers are often a target of disciplinary complaints given the fiery emotions unveiled in these cases. The following takes a look at various lawyer disciplinary cases decided around the country recently. Many of these cases involved domestic relations but not all of them. Obviously a lot of these areas of misconduct are “no brainers” but it is interesting to see the sorts of things that are catching the eye of disciplinary commissions around the nation. In Illinois some of the recent disciplinary decisions are found in a summary of such cases published by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. I learned of the cases from other states courtesy of the American Bar Association Journal and the Legal Profession Blog. If the state is not identified, the discipline took place in Illinois.

I. Conflict of interest and neglect are a major problem:

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An attorney was suspended for three years and until further order of Court (suspension was partially stayed on probation with conditions) for borrowing substantial funds while serving as a cotrustee of a trust that he created to benefit his client’s developmentally disabled adult son, without making proper disclosures to the co-trustee about his conflict of interest. The loan was discharged in bankruptcy. A lawyer was suspended for six months and until further of Court for neglecting a client matter and misrepresenting the status of the case to the client. He also failed to participate in the disciplinary process, which seems to take place in a shocking number of these cases. A lawyer was suspended for two years and until further order of Court for among other things, not carrying out duties in cases where he had been appointed guardian ad litem. An attorney was censured and required to complete a professionalism seminar for neglecting discovery obligations in a divorce case which caused monetary sanctions against the client, and then did not tell the client of the sanctions. A lawyer who neglected nine different client matters, failed to refund unearned fees to the clients and did not cooperate with the disciplinary investigation was disbarred. A lawyer who neglected several matters, misrepresented the status of his clients and delivered NSF checks to his office landlord, was disbarred on consent. A lawyer in Michigan was disbarred for settling a personal injury matter without his client’s knowledge or consent.

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The Fathers' Rights Movement - May 2019, Issue No. 10  

Please enjoy our 10th issue of The Fathers' Rights Monthly, and help raise awareness for issues around shared parenting after divorce.

The Fathers' Rights Movement - May 2019, Issue No. 10  

Please enjoy our 10th issue of The Fathers' Rights Monthly, and help raise awareness for issues around shared parenting after divorce.

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