Professionalism Council Letter

Published September 2014

PROFESSIONALISM PANEL

 

Per Administrative Order No. 2.105/6-13, In Re: Fifteenth Circuit Professionalism Panel, when an attorney appears before the Panel because of conduct inconsistent with the PBCBA’s Standards of Professional Courtesy or the Ideals and Goals of Professionalism, a summary of that meeting is to be published in the Bar Bulletin with the name(s) redacted.

 

 

Re:      Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Professionalism Council session April 15, 2014

 

Dear Attorney:

 

This letter serves as a follow up to your meeting on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 with the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Professionalism Panel (“Panel”).  You were asked to appear before the Panel to address your conduct in connection with your substitution as counsel of record for your clienton the eve of a summary judgment hearing.

 

The Panel reviewed the referral letter, your response, and the material provided to the Panel by your client.  Based on our review of these materials, and our meeting with you on April 15, the Panel found this matter to be a classic example of what can happen when two attorneys fail to properly communicate with one another.  Frankly, the Panel thought both attorneys and the client could have handled the situation in a better manner.  Although your conduct might not have violated any specific professionalism standard, the Panel thought you certainly should have been more proactive in (1) making sure that the former counsel for the client was given sufficient notice of your being retained by the client, and (2) having the proper substitution papers filed with the Court in advance of the hearing.  This would have saved former counsel the time and resources that he expended in preparing for the summary judgment hearing over the holiday.  Unfortunately, it appears you relied more on your client and your office staff (rather than yourself) to keep former counsel apprised of the situation and his status as counsel of record, which was unreliable.

 

As we mentioned during our meeting, a primary focus and design of the Panel is to educate attorneys who practice in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit about the requirements of professionalism and civility in the daily practice of law.  We thank you for your participation and appearance before the Panel.  We hope that your experience with the Panel will have a positive impact and will serve as a guide to your future conduct.  We also encourage you to read the Ideals and Goals of Professionalism and the Standards of Professional Courtesy, copies of which are enclosed.

 

/s/ Amy S. Borman, Co-Chair

Palm Beach County Bar Association Professionalism Committee

For the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Professionalism Panel