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Spartanburg attorney suspended

By: David Donovan//May 17, 2017

Spartanburg attorney suspended

By: David Donovan//May 17, 2017

Attorney: William Jeffrey McGurk

Location: Spartanburg

Bar membership: Member since 1990

Disciplinary action: Suspended from the practice of law for six months on May 11

Background: McGurk represented a client as post-conviction relief (PCR) counsel at an evidentiary hearing in 2007. The judge denied PCR but found the client was entitled to a belated review of his direct appeal. McGurk did not serve and file a Notice of Appeal with the state’s Supreme Court as required by the rules of civil procedure. In 2013, the client filed a pro se notice of appeal with a petition for belated review. The Supreme Court sent McGurk a letter advising him of the notice of appeal and reminding him that he remained counsel of record for the client, but McGurk failed to provide information requested by the court. The Court dismissed the client’s appeal as a result, and McGurk took no further action. McGurk admits he failed to communicate with his client about the appeal, claiming that he believed his responsibilities ended with the denial of PCR. He acknowledges that his failure to understand the applicable rules is not a defense to misconduct.

Previous discipline: McGurk was reprimanded in August 2001 for asserting a frivolous claim or contention, threatening to present criminal charges solely to obtain an advantage in a civil matter, and engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Special notice: The Supreme Court administratively suspended 41 attorneys on April 20 for failing to file reports showing compliance with continuing legal education requirements, or failing to pay the associated fees, for the reporting year ending in February 2017. A full list of those attorneys is available on the judicial department’s website.

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