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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 49189
Attorney Name Lewis, F. Lee
DBP Docket No. 117 DB 2005
Supreme Court Docket No. 1232 DD No. 3
County Philadelphia
Disciplinary Counsel Richard Hernandez
Counsel for Respondent Samuel D. Miller, III
Decision Date 2007-04-13
Effective Date 2007-05-14
Case Digest Respondent engaged in misconduct in six client matters. Four of the six client matters related to Respondent’s representation of clients in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. One client matter involved a challenge to a client’s criminal conviction and sentence via the filing of a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court. The sixth client matter involved assisting a husband and wife in forestalling a sheriff’s sale of their residence by either arranging a refinancing of the mortgage or by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. Respondent provided incompetent representation to five clients; she also failed to diligently represent five clients. In five client matters Respondent failed to answer her clients’ inquiries. In four client matters Respondent failed to provide her clients with sufficient information so they could make an informed decision regarding the representation. In three client matters failed to advise her clients of the dismissal of their cases. Respondent failed to provide four clients with written fee agreements. In four client matters, Respondent failed, following termination of the representations, to either return the clients’ files and/or to refund the advance payments of her fees that went unearned. In two client matters, Respondent filed documents with bankruptcy court to obtain judicial approval of attorney fees that exceeded the attorney fees agreed to by Respondent and the clients for the representation. Respondent mailed solicitation letters to four clients that contained misleading information in her letterhead and in the body of the letter. In one client matter, Respondent approved of her non-lawyer assistant meeting with and providing a client with legal advice regarding bankruptcy without Respondent being present. In another matter, the bankruptcy court was obliged to hold a hearing and to issue an Opinion and Order that addressed Respondent’s mishandling of a client’s bankruptcy case. Mitigating factors in determining the discipline to impose were Respondent’s cooperation, expressions of remorse, and acknowledgement of wrongdoing. An aggravating factor was Respondent’s record of discipline, consisting of an informal admonition and a private reprimand. The Disciplinary Board recommended that Respondent receive a two-year suspension based on precedent and the extensive nature of Respondent’s misconduct.
Rule Violation(s) RPC 1.1, RPC 1.3, RPC 1.4(a), RPC 1.4(b), RPC 1.5(a), RPC 1.5(b), RPC 1.15(b), RPC 1.16(d), RPC 3.3(a)(1), RPC 4.1(a), RPC 5.3(c)(1), RPC 5.3(c)(2), RPC 5.5(a), RPC 7.1(a), RPC 7.5(a), RPC 8.4(a), RPC 8.4(c), and RPC 8.4(d).
Discipline Imposed Two year suspension
Points of Law
Report/Opinion Download