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Attorneys – Discipline – Definite Suspension – Fee Agreement – Tax Returns

Where the respondent-attorney deposited a fee into his operating account, treating the money as an advance fee pursuant to a written fee agreement with his client, but where the fee agreement neither informed the client of his right to terminate the lawyer-client relationship and discharge respondent nor informed the client he might be entitled to a refund of all or part of the fee if the agreed upon legal services were not provided, respondent violated Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5(f).

Furthermore, respondent pled guilty in 2016 to two counts of failing to file tax returns and failing to pay state income taxes. Respondent has completed his sentence of probation.

Respondent also acknowledges that he failed to adequately maintain his financial records.

Respondent violated RPC 1.5(f)(4) and (f) as well as RPC 8.4(b), (c) and (d). Respondent is suspended from the practice of law in this state for six months, retroactive to Jan. 8, 2016, the date of respondent’s interim suspension. Respondents shall pay the costs of the investigation and prosecution of this matter. Prior to seeking reinstatement, respondent must demonstrate compliance with Rule 32, RLDE.

In re Newman (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-100-18, 3 pp.) (Per Curiam) John Nichols and Joseph Turner for Office of Disciplinary Counsel; Peter Demos Protopapas for respondent. S.C. S.Ct.

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