I have been practicing in the lawyer discipline field since 1994. For more information about me, please visit my About page. My practice is limited to professional responsibility and legal ethics. It includes:
I represent Washington lawyers in all phases of bar grievance investigations and prosecution. This includes responding to the initial grievance and additional requests from disciplinary counsel, depositions and interviews, gathering evidence to support dismissal or reduced sanctions, evaluating and responding to analysis letters requesting hearings or admonitions, negotiating diversion agreements and stipulations, and all stages of hearings and appeals.
I consult with lawyers throughout Washington State who are representing themselves in the grievance process (either in person at my Seattle office or by phone). I analyze grievances to advise about possible outcomes and about violations not alleged in the grievance that ODC may choose to pursue. I help lawyers draft responses to grievances or additional requests for response. I consult with lawyers who choose to represent themselves at depositions, hearings or on appeal. I also consult with lawyers who have been threatened with potential grievances.
Ethics Consultations and Opinions
I consult with lawyers about their obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct and relevant caselaw and other authority and if requested to do so, provide opinion letters. These consultations may be in response to an allegation of an RPC violation (e.g., an alleged conflict of interest) or a proactive request by a lawyer who is not sure whether a course of conduct is permitted by the RPC. Depending on the complexity of your question, your need for a written opinion, your timeline and your budget, another option is the bar's ethics line.
Trust Account Issues
I analyze lawyers' trust account records to determine if they are in compliance with the trust account rules. I provide guidance to bookkeepers and accountants who are reconstructing a lawyer's trust account or otherwise assisting a lawyer in complying with the trust account rules. I also assist lawyers responding to trust account overdraft grievances (which begin when a bank notifies the bar that a lawyer's trust account is overdrawn).
I review lawyers' fee agreements for possible RPC violations and assist where necessary in redrafting.
I occasionally will consult with or represent a nonlawyer who has concerns about his or her lawyer's representation. The grievance process is structured so a grievant does not need to be represented by counsel so I assist nonlawyers only in complex cases or where other circumstances indicate that my assistance is needed.
In addition to my law practice, I also provide expert opinions and testimony on professional responsibility issues. This includes declarations about conflicts of interest to support or oppose motions for disqualification and opinions in legal malpractice and other cases.