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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 37082
Attorney Name Werner, Arthur Joseph
DBP Docket No. 202 DB 2003
Supreme Court Docket No. 1032 D.D. No. 3
County Philadelphia
Disciplinary Counsel Barbara S. Rosenberg
Counsel for Respondent James P. Leonard
Decision Date 2005-08-10
Effective Date 2005-09-09
Case Digest Respondent agreed to prepare trust and related documents for a client, without providing a written fee agreement. He failed to hold the fee in escrow until he provided the services, to prepare the documents, communicate with the client, and return the client’s records and the unearned fee upon being discharged. After being contacted by Disciplinary Counsel, Respondent sent a copy of a fax enclosing a copy of a check to the client for a refund. In fact, Respondent did not make the refund to the client as represented and did not reveal that fact although aware that he had misled Disciplinary Counsel.
Rule Violation(s) 1.3, .14(a), 1.5(b), 1.15(a), 1.15(b), 1.16(d), 8.1(a), 8.4(c)
Discipline Imposed 1 year and 1 day suspension
Points of Law An attorney who accepts a representation in what he later claims to be an unfamiliar area of law, fails to promptly provide services, fails to communicate with the client and refund the fee upon being discharged, who then misrepresents to Disciplinary Counsel that he has made the refund, and testifies incredibly at the disciplinary hearing “reveals a core failure to act honestly, which in turn suggests unfitness to practice law,” and will be suspended for a year and a day.
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