Attorney Discipline, 1221 GABJ, GSB Vol. 27, No. 3, Pg. 47

PositionVol. 27 3 Pg. 47

Attorney Discipline

No. Vol. 27 No. 3 Pg. 47

Georgia Bar Journal

December, 2021

August 24, 2021, through October 5, 2021


Attorney Discipline Summaries


William Leslie Kirby III

211 Ninth St.

Columbus, GA 31901

Admitted to the Bar 2008

On Aug. 24, 2021, the Supreme Court of Georgia accepted the petition for voluntary discipline of William Leslie Kirby III (State Bar No. 220475) and ordered Kirby be suspended from the practice of law in Georgia for six months.

Prior to its consideration of this petition, the Court had rejected three previous petitions for voluntary discipline. In his fourth petition, Kirby sought voluntary discipline in connection with his admitted misconduct in four separate State Bar matters, constituting violations of Rules 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.16 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct. The Court first rejected the proposed imposition of a State Disciplinary Review Board reprimand, then rejected a proposed 30-day suspension and finally rejected a four-month suspension, concluding that each proposed sanction was insufficient given the gravity of Kirby's pattern of conduct.

Regarding the facts of the underlying matters and circumstances surrounding Kirby's misconduct, the Court had previously recounted that with regard to State Disciplinary Board Docket (SDBD) 6926, Kirby admitted he was retained in 2014 to represent a client in a child-support modification action and was paid S375. He filed the modification action, albeit later than he promised. When a motion for contempt was filed against his client, Kirby failed to appear at a 2016 hearing on the motion. The client was held in contempt for failing to pay child support and had income deductions entered against her. Kirby failed to respond to the client's multiple requests for information and failed to perform necessary work on the matter. Kirby admitted that by this behavior he violated Rules 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4.

With regard to SDBD 6977, Kirby admitted that a client retained him in 2012 to defend her against criminal charges. After the client was convicted, Kirby advised her to seek appointed counsel for the appeal but failed to file a notice of withdrawal even though he had no plans to represent her. Although Kirby gave a copy of the file to the client's family, he failed to respond to new counsel's request for a copy of the file after counsel was appointed in July 2015. New counsel filed a motion in March 2016 to compel Kirby to produce the file, but Kirby failed to respond. He admitted that his conduct violated Rules 1.4 and 1.16.

With regard to SDBD 6978, Kirby admitted that in February 2014, he was retained to represent a client in divorce proceedings. After a March 2015 mediation, the client refused to sign a negotiated agreement and informed Kirby that he wished to retain new counsel. Kirby gave the client a copy of his file and told the client that he was withdrawing, but he failed to file a notice of withdrawal with the court and failed to communicate with the client. As a result of Kirby's failure to withdraw properly, the client was unable to retain another attorney. Kirby admitted that his conduct violated Rules 1.4 and 1.16.

With regard to SDBD 6979, Kirby admitted that in 2011, a client hired him to file an uncontested divorce and paid him a S700 retainer. Although Kirby filed the petition for divorce in January 2012, he stopped communicating with the client and did not perform any additional work on the case until July 2013, when the...

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