I just read the most recent Notice Of Charges brought by the New Hampshire Supreme Court, through the Attorney Discipline Office, against a Keene injury lawyer.
The lawyer has been charged with lying and taking advantage of a client and her family who were suffering greatly from a devastating injury as the result of an auto collision. He also stands charged with placing his own financial interests above his clients, deceit, dishonesty, fraud and misrepresentation.
Not every complaint against a lawyer gets this far. Let’s face it, anyone can make a charge just to cause trouble. That’s why the New Hampshire Supreme Court has set up a process to screen all cases, to filter out the ones with no merit.
When the Disciplinary Counsel brings charges, it means they believe them to be true. They take all necessary action to see that the lawyer is brought to justice, and then punished (anything from censure to disbarment) to protect you, the public, from unethical and corrupt lawyers.
These charges have made it past the initial levels, and although they need to be proven by the Disciplinary Counsel, are at the stage where the case is a public file under Supreme Court Rule 37(20)(b)(2).
It is not my job to be judge, jury and executioner. We’ll see what happens, but I wouldn’t want to be that injury lawyer.
I find it very troubling that some of these lawyers who advertise their honesty, are just the opposite.
It is a fact that this particular injury lawyer has a record with the NH Supreme Court, Professional Conduct Committee. It is for LYING to the court.
He has the right to answer the pending charges, present a defense and have his day in court against his former clients who have filed very serious charges against him, and whose cause the Supreme Court has joined.
The case is public for a good reason. This is important information injury victims looking for a lawyer should know. It should become part of the decision making process. It goes into the big picture so the consumer can make a decision he or she is comfortable with, especially since you only get one bite of the apple. A potential client might wish to call the clients who feel they were ripped off or otherwise mistreated by a lawyer. Why not? An educated consumer is the best consumer. Get all the facts, weigh everything, and then make a decision.
Being a lawyer should mean you can be trusted to put your client’s interests above all others. As lawyers, we are supposed to stand for something good– justice– and be advocates for our clients, not self-interested and arrogant con-men.
It is fine to make a good living in this business ( been there/ done that) but it should never be at the expense of our own clients.
It all comes back to the importance of trying to do the right thing, and trying to live a virtuous life. If your lawyer is not so motivated, then we should not be shocked when he acts unethically.
There is evil in the world, and the legal profession has attracted more than its fair share of predators, who are in a position of trust and abuse that trust. This is why lawyers have such a bad reputation.
The legal profession is a very competitive business these days. It’s not like the days when I was in the fore-front, one of the only guys advertising my services as an injury lawyer. Now anyone with an advertising budget can get clients, even if they are lousy lawyers or, worse yet, bad and immoral people.
I never wish any of my competitors ill-will, and for the most part, have good things to say about most of them. Then again, like any other line of work, there will always be those who cross the line, and some of them, repeatedly offend. I’ve never had much use for phonies,crooks and cheats.
There are lots of good, solid injury lawyers in this state. There is no reason to hire a bad lawyer, or a bad person. The trouble is they don’t advertise themselves honestly for what they are, so you need to do your homework. The stakes are too high.
If you have any questions, call me for the straight scoop.
It is important to call the New Hampshire Supreme Court to see if your current lawyer or lawyer-to-be has a record of unethical conduct. If charges are pending, you can learn about them and make a decision on whether you should get another lawyer before it’s too late.
In N.H., you can fire your lawyer at will, and changing can be done without any extra cost to you! And, don’t let him tell you differently. In the case I’m blogging about, the lawyer used scare tactics against his clients so he would not get fired, and, sadly, they worked much to the detriment of his clients who deserved so much better.
Call 603-224-5828 NOW if you are concerned, or contact me. You’ll be glad you did–real glad.
At Donahue Law, we are unyielding in the pursuit of our client’s rights, but always fair, straight-shooting and ethical.
Keep your strength.
Charlie Donahue, Injury lawyer