Attorney Discipline

Utah State Bar Ethics Hotline
Call the Bar’s Ethics Hotline at (801) 531-9110 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for fast, informal ethics advice. Leave a detailed message describing the problem and within a twenty-four hour workday period a lawyer from the Office of Professional Conduct will give you ethical help about small everyday matters and larger complex issues.
More information about the Bar’s Ethics Hotline may be found at www.utahbar.org/opc/opc_ethics_hotline.html. Information about the formal Ethics Advisory Opinion process can be found at www.utahbar.org/rules_ops_pols/index_of_opinions.html.
ADMONITION
On March 15, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 3.5(b) (Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

Utah State Bar Ethics Hotline
Call the Bar’s Ethics Hotline at (801) 531-9110 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for fast, informal ethics advice. Leave a detailed message describing the problem and within a twenty-four hour workday period a lawyer from the Office of Professional Conduct will give you ethical help about small everyday matters and larger complex issues.
More information about the Bar’s Ethics Hotline may be found at www.utahbar.org/opc/opc_ethics_hotline.html. Information about the formal Ethics Advisory Opinion process can be found at www.utahbar.org/rules_ops_pols/index_of_opinions.html.

ADMONITION
On March 1, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

Utah State Bar Ethics Hotline
Call the BarÕs Ethics Hotline at (801) 531-9110 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for fast, informal ethics advice. Leave a detailed message describing the problem and within a twenty-four hour workday period a lawyer from the Office of Professional Conduct will give you ethical help about small everyday matters and larger complex issues.
More information about the BarÕs Ethics Hotline may be found at www.utahbar.org/opc/opc_ethics_hotline.html. Information about the formal Ethics Advisory Opinion process can be found at www.utahbar.org/rules_ops_pols/index_of_opinions.html.

ADMONITION
On January 5, 2012, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

Utah State Bar Ethics Hotline
Call the BarÕs Ethics Hotline at (801) 531-9110 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for fast, informal ethics advice. Leave a detailed message describing the problem and within a twenty-four hour workday period a lawyer from the Office of Professional Conduct will give you ethical help about small everyday matters and larger complex issues.
More information about the BarÕs Ethics Hotline may be found at www.utahbar.org/opc/opc_ethics_hotline.html. Information about the formal Ethics Advisory Opinion process can be found at www.utahbar.org/rules_ops_pols/index_of_opinions.html.

ADMONITION
On July 28, 2011, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

Utah State Bar Ethics Hotline
Call the BarÕs Ethics Hotline at (801) 531-9110 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for fast, informal ethics advice. Leave a detailed message describing the problem and within a twenty-four hour workday period a lawyer from the Office of Professional Conduct will give you ethical help about small everyday matters and larger complex issues.

More information about the BarÕs Ethics Hotline may be found at www.utahbar.org/opc/opc_ethics_hotline.html. Information about the formal Ethics Advisory Opinion process can be found at www.utahbar.org/rules_ops_pols/index_of_opinions.html.
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On November 4, 2010, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Kerry F. Willets for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

RESIGNATION WITH DISCIPLINE PENDING
On April 14, 2010, the Honorable Christine M. Durham, Chief Justice, Utah Supreme Court, entered an Order Accepting Resignation with Discipline Pending concerning R. Bradley Neff for violation of Rules 8.4(b) (Misconduct), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
On September 23, 2008, Mr. Neff entered into a plea in abeyance to three Class A Misdemeanor counts of Attempted Failure to Render a Proper Tax Return. Mr. Neff was required to complete 40 hours of community service and pay restitution of $13,936.37 in addition to the $197,139.57 previously paid.
SUSPENSION
On March 11, 2010, the Honorable Denise Lindberg, Third District Court entered an Order of Discipline: Suspension for one year and Probation for one year against David VanCampen for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.5(b) (Fees), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

Since the publication of the Jan/Feb issue of the Utah Bar Journal, there has been some discussion among members of the Bar regarding a notice in the Attorney Discipline section. That notice concerned a respondent’s reliance upon an opinion issued by the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee. To provide some clarification to this discussion, the OPC is printing this letter, which was the source material for the disciplinary note:

April 5, 2007
Augustus G. Chin, President
Utah State Bar
Dear Gus:
At a recent court conference, the justices discussed the treatment of opinions issued by the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee of the Utah State Bar and reviewed your letter of December 8, 2006, as well as the memoranda prepared by Gary Sackett and Billy Walker. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

ADMONITION
On September 17, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 4.2(a) (Communication with Persons Represented by Counsel) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct).

In summary:
An attorney was contacted by a minor whose parents were involved in a divorce proceeding in district court. The minor informed the attorney that the minor had been appointed a Guardian ad Litem (GAL), though the minor had not heard from the GAL in over two years. The minor asked the attorney for representation in the district court proceeding. The attorney researched the possibility of representation, and reviewed Ethics Advisory Opinion 07-02. That opinion addresses the situation that the attorney was presented with, and advises that in the case of a mature minor, an attorney may speak with the minor even without the permission of the GAL and not violate Rule 4.2. The attorney spoke again to the minor after conducting research. The attorney filed a Notice of Appearance in the case. The GAL filed a Motion to Strike Notice of Appearance of Counsel. The attorney conducted further research to determine if the minor was a “mature minor” as described in the ethics opinion. The attorney filed a response to the motion to strike. A pretrial hearing was held where the attorney’s representation was discussed. The attorney asked to withdraw from the case after the representation was challenged by the father’s counsel and the GAL. The court removed the attorney from the case, struck all of the pleadings that had been filed, and chastised the attorney for what had been done. The court stated that the attorney’s actions were “wrong,” “out of line,” “unethical,” and “inappropriate.” The attorney followed all orders of the court. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

Attorney Discipline
ADMONITION
On August 10, 2009, the Vice-Chair of the Ethics and Discipline
Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of
Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules
1.1 (Competence), 1.6(a) (Confidentiality of Information), and
8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
An attorney was hired to represent a client in a domestic matter
even though the attorney had not practiced in that area for over
two decades. The attorney did not have sufficient skills to provide
the representation necessary in the domestic case. When the
attorney filed a Motion to Withdraw, the attorney attached a
letter in which confidential and possibly prejudicial information
was disclosed.
ADMONITION
On August 1, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline (more…)

Attorney Discipline

ADMONITION
On April 17, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 5.3(b) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In Summary:
An attorney was hired to represent a client in a Social Security Administration matter. After the briefing schedule was set, the attorney missed the first deadline to file the brief on behalf of
the client. The attorney asked for an extension and was givenone. The attorney missed the deadline and asked for extensions six additional times. Ultimately, when the brief was not filed after the seventh extension of time, the Commissioner filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to prosecute the claim. The attorney did not respond to the Motion to Dismiss on behalf of the client. The attorney failed to notify his client of the Motion to Dismiss. The case was dismissed. Although the attorney filed an appeal of the dismissal, the U.S. District Court upheld the dismissal. The attorney’s explanation for not filing the pleadings was that he (more…)

Attorney Discipline

ADMONITION
On February 25, 2009, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.9(a) (Conflict of Interest: Former Clients) and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
An attorney was hired to represent a client in a divorce matter. The attorney’s office sharing arrangement was the functional equivalent of being in the same firm as a family member. The attorney took a case against a former client of his family member.

RESIGNATION WITH DISCIPLINE PENDING
On February 11, 2009, the Honorable Matthew B. Durrant, Associate Chief Justice, Utah Supreme Court, entered an Order Accepting Resignation with Discipline Pending concerning David W. Snow for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.4(b) (Communication), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On November 26, 2008, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Roy D. Cole for violation of Rules 1.8(a) (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules), 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(d) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In summary:
Mr. Cole was hired by a client that gave Mr. Cole Power of Attorney entrusting items of personal property to Mr. Cole. Mr. Cole accepted property from his client without the proper safeguards in place; without keeping records; and without keeping the client’s property separate from his property. Mr. Cole did not provide an accounting which was full, accurate, and timely to his client. Mr. Cole failed to take steps to protect his client’s interests upon termination of the representation. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

Attorney Discipline
PUBLIC REPRIMAND
On October 23, 2008, the Honorable Robert K. Hilder, Third District Court, entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand against Samuel J. Conklin for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.5(b) (Fees), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
Mr. Conklin was hired to protect his client’s current wife’s assets. Mr. Conklin was given a retainer. Mr. Conklin set up a trust but would not relinquish the trust documents until he was paid additional money.
Mr. Conklin was also hired to do paperwork to establish his client’s current wife’s business. Mr. Conklin made errors in the Limited Liability Company (LLC) papers. However, Mr. Conklin failed to address the mistakes he made in establishing the LLC. Mr. Conklin requested and received additional money. Mr. Conklin did not give his clients a receipt for the monies. On numerous occasions Mr. Conklin’s clients requested an accounting of their funds, but were never given one. Mr. Conklin also failed to timely respond to the OPC’s Notice of Informal Complaint. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

Attorney Discipline
ADMONITION
On July 18, 2008, the Vice-Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.2(c) (Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer), 1.2(d) (Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer), 8.4(c) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
An attorney represented a client in a real estate transaction. Attorney was left alone with the closing documents after the documents, including a deed, had been executed. The attorney removed the original, two-page version of the legal description and attached an altered version of the property’s legal description to the quit claim deed. The attorney made the changes while alone with the executed documents. The attorney altered a signed deed, delivered to be recorded, by changing property description, and by whiting out the stated number of pages on the deed’s face. The attorney did not intend to misrepresent or defraud anyone, but was attempting to correct what he understood to be a ministerial error that had been made when the wrong description was attached. (more…)

Attorney Discipline

Attorney Discipline
ADMONITION
On June 23, 2008, the Vice-Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 3.2 (Expediting Litigation), 3.3(d) (Candor Toward the Tribunal), 7.3(a) (Direct Contact with Prospective Clients), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
The attorney solicited professional employment from a person in a nursing home without invitation and without contacting the person’s family members. The attorney filed an Ex-Parte Motion for Appointment of Counsel along with a Request for Guardianship and Conservatorship for the person in the nursing home. The attorney did not disclose all material facts to the tribunal in his ex-parte communications including how the attorney was in contact with the client; the fact that Adult Protective Services (APS) was not investigating all of the children of the client, and that his client was not in imminent harm. The attorney continued to fight over the appointment of counsel with his client’s children after APS determined there was no exploitation. The attorney’s response to the OPC and personal attacks toward his client’s children were unprofessional and detrimental to the administration of justice. (more…)