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November 2004 Archives

November 17, 2004

PUBLIC REPRIMAND

PUBLIC REPRIMAND

On October 22, 2004, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand reprimanding John Bucher for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (Communication), 1.5(b) (Fees), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
Mr. Bucher was retained to represent a mother and daughter in a Department of Child and Family Services matter and to file a petition to change custody of the mother’s grandchild from the mother’s daughter to the mother. The mother initially paid Mr. Bucher $500. Mr. Bucher did not file the petition for three months. The mother subsequently paid Mr. Bucher another $400. Mr. Bucher did not communicate in writing the basis and rate of his fee within a reasonable time of the representation to the mother or the mother’s daughter. Mr. Bucher did not explain to the mother or the mother’s daughter the nature of the legal proceedings or how the proceedings might affect them.

ADMONITION

ADMONITION

On October 22, 2004, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition admonishing an attorney for violation of Rules 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
An attorney was retained to seek a reduction of felony convictions. The attorney was paid $1500. The attorney performed no meaningful work on behalf of the client. The attorney failed to keep the client reasonably informed of the status of the case and did not promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. The attorney abandoned the representation without providing notice to the client, and without returning the unearned retainer.

Mitigating factors include: The client is willing to have the attorney complete the matter. The attorney was very candid with the Screening Panel. The attorney is receiving professional help for depression. The attorney is now in an office with other lawyers and support staff.

PUBLIC REPRIMAND

PUBLIC REPRIMAND

On October 22, 2004, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand reprimanding John Bucher for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
Mr. Bucher was retained to represent a client in a misdemeanor case. Mr. Bucher did not find out the nature of the hearing he needed to attend. Mr. Bucher thought it was a sentencing, but it was a trial. Mr. Bucher filed a motion to continue the trial, but did not file the correct paperwork with the court for the motion to continue, and did not attend the trial. The client was found guilty and a sentencing hearing was scheduled. Mr. Bucher attended the sentencing hearing, and after the client was sentenced, informed the client he would assist with an appeal, but failed to do so.

PUBLIC REPRIMAND

PUBLIC REPRIMAND

On October 22, 2004, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Public Reprimand reprimanding John Bucher for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(b) (Fees), 1.16(a)(3) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and Rule 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
Mr. Bucher represented a client in a criminal matter. The client paid Mr. Bucher $10,000. Mr. Bucher failed to communicate the basis of his fee in writing within a reasonable time after commencing representation. Mr. Bucher did not properly handle the case and did not keep the client informed of the status of the case. Mr. Bucher did not explain the matter to the extent reasonably necessary to enable the client to make informed decisions regarding representation. The client terminated the representation by letter, but Mr. Bucher delayed in terminating his representation of the client. Mr. Bucher refunded $1500 to the client.

ADMONITION

ADMONITION

On November 8, 2004, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition admonishing an attorney for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 5.5(a) (Unauthorized Practice of Law), 8.4(d) (Misconduct), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In summary:
An attorney was retained to represent a client’s grandchild in a criminal matter. The attorney did not appear for one of the court hearings in the case. The attorney did not return telephone calls requesting information about the case. In another matter, the attorney received a certified letter from the Board of Continuing Legal Education stating that the attorney had not demonstrated compliance with the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements. The letter informed the attorney that if the attorney did not demonstrate compliance within thirty days a petition for suspension from the practice of law would be forwarded to the Utah Supreme Court. The attorney did not comply and was administratively suspended. Thereafter, the attorney appeared in court on behalf of three different clients.

Mitigating factors include: Absence of prior record of discipline and cooperative attitude toward the disciplinary proceedings. The attorney also agreed to participate in binding fee arbitration through the Utah State Bar’s Fee Arbitration Program.

About November 2004

This page contains all entries posted to Utah State Bar News & Announcements in November 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2004 is the previous archive.

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