Attorney Discipline, 1020 WYBJ, Vol. 43 No. 5. 17

Position:Vol. 43 5 Pg. 17

Attorney Discipline

No. Vol. 43 No. 5 Pg. 17

Wyoming Bar Journal

October, 2020

PRIVATE REPRIMANDS

The Review and Oversight Committee issued a private reprimand to an attorney who failed to adequately communicate his hourly rate to the client within a reasonable time after commencing representation and failed to provide an invoice to the client until the conclusion of the case per the attorney's office policy. By that point, the attorney had been representing the client for eight months, the client's advance fee had been exhausted, and the client owed several thousand dollars to the attorney. The client terminated services and requested copies of all files. The attorney delayed nearly two months before providing the client's new attorney with all client files but did immediately provide the file for the only active case. Following commencement of a disciplinary investigation by the Office of Bar Counsel, the attorney admitted that the failure to timely or clearly communicate the hourly fee, that the advance fee had been exhausted, or provide the client with billing statements until the conclusion of the case is a violation of Rule 1.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct (communication) and Rule 1.5 (fees).The attorney further admitted violating Rule l.l5A(b) (client files) by failing to make the client's file available within a reasonable time following the client's request.

In determining that a private reprimand was the appropriate sanction for the attorney's violations, the ROC gave due consideration to several mitigating factors present in the case, including the attorney's adoption of several remedial measures to ensure that a similar situation did not occur in the future, including implementing an office policy that invoices are sent to clients on a monthly basis on hourly fee cases and transferring earned funds from the trust account to...

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