Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 73688
Attorney Name Giles, James Garland
DBP Docket No. 149 DB 2006
Supreme Court Docket No. 1248 DD No. 3
County Philadelphia
Disciplinary Counsel Ramona Mariani
Counsel for Respondent James C. Schwartzman
Decision Date 2007-05-08
Effective Date 2007-06-08
Case Digest Respondent failed to notify his client of a court date and the subsequent dismissal of her case. In another matter Respondent agreed to represent clients in a case pending in New Jersey despite the fact that he was administratively suspended in that state. Respondent was transferred to inactive status in Pennsylvania for a period of about 7 months but continued to practice law. A review of Respondentís bank records revealed that he co-mingled his own and clients funds and that he failed to maintain an IOLTA account as required. After settling a personal injury claim, Respondent failed to pay the medical provider as agreed.
Rule Violation(s) RPC 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.4(a)(3), 1.4(a)(5), 1.5(b), 1.15(a), 1.15(b), 1.15(h),1.16(a)(1), 1.16(d), 5.5(a), 7.1, 8.4(c), 8.4(d), Pa.R.D.E. 217(b), 217(c)(2), 217(d), 217(e), 217(j), 219(d)(1)(iii), 221(f), 221(g) and New Jersey Rule of Court R. 1:21-1(a).
Discipline Imposed Two year suspension
Points of Law Respondent engaged in multiple acts of misconduct. Respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law when he practiced law while on inactive status in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Respondent neglected client matters, failing to adequately communicate with his clients and keep them informed about their matters. In addition, Respondent failed to utilize written fee agreements as required. Respondent failed to properly hold entrusted funds. For example, Respondent failed to utilize either an IOLTA or escrow account, and regularly co-mingled his own funds with his clients. In one case, Respondent failed to pay a medical provider despite having given that provider a letter of protection. The funds were not repaid until Office of Disciplinary Counsel contacted Respondent.
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