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Virginia Lawyer Register The Official Publication of the Virginia State Bar In this issue: page 2 Disciplinary Proceedings 3 Disciplinary Summaries Circuit Courts 4 Disciplinary Summaries Circuit
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Virginia Lawyer Register The Official Publication of the Virginia State Bar In this issue: page 2 Disciplinary Proceedings 3 Disciplinary Summaries Circuit Courts 4 Disciplinary Summaries Circuit Courts Disciplinary Board 5 Disciplinary Summaries Disciplinary Board District Committees 6 Disciplinary Summaries District Committees 7 Notices to Members Approved Opinion Legal Ethics Opinion 1852: Employment Limitations for Suspended or Revoked Lawyers 7 Notices to Members Withdrawn Opinion Legal Ethics Opinion 1553 Communication with Adverse Parties: Parent s Counsel in Custody Dispute Meeting with Minor Child 7 Administrative Suspensions Vol. 58/No. 6 January Nominations Sought for Virginia State Bar Committees 8 February Council Proposal for Public Comment Safekeeping Property and Maintenance of Trust Accounts DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS Respondent s Name Address of Record Action Effective Date pg Circuit Courts Carl Herman Bundick Accomac, VA Public Reprimand w/terms September 24, Walter Franklin Green, IV Harrisonburg, VA Suspension 7 months December 26, Walter Ware Morrison Virginia Beach, VA Suspension 90 Days October 15, *Andrew Robert Sebok Norfolk, VA Suspension 3 months July 17, George Anthony Yancey Norfolk, VA Public Admonition w/terms September 29, Public Reprimand September 29, Disciplinary Board Steven Scott Biss Petersburg, VA Suspension 30 Days January 1, Anthony Gerome Davis Birmingham, AL Suspension w/terms 8 months October 19, Matthew Bennett Greene United Kingdom Revocation November 10, Anne Marston Lynch Portsmouth, VA Revocation December 4, Daniel Stephen Orci Jr. Washington, DC Revocation October 23, District Committees Susan Page Allen Richmond, VA Public Reprimand October 29, John Wesley Bonney Norfolk, VA Public Reprimand w/terms October 26, Linda Lee Cupit Virginia Beach, VA Public Admonition w/terms October 26, Kelly Ralston Dennis McLean, VA Public Reprimand w/terms November 5, Crystal Anita Gist Fisher Waldorf, MD Public Reprimand w/terms October 22, Vernon Keeve Jr. Fredericksburg, VA Public Reprimand December 1, Suspension Failure to Pay Disciplinary Costs Effective Date Lifted Joseph Kelly Haley III Petersburg, VA November 16, 2009 n/a John Crane King Plano, TX December 2, 2009 n/a Robert E. Miller Newman, GA December 1, 2009 n/a Peter Campbell Sackett Lynchburg, VA November 10, 2009 n/a Bruce Harold Troxell Annandale, VA December 3, 2009 n/a Suspension Failure to Comply with Subpoena Effective Date Lifted Tina Elizabeth Orr Norfolk, VA October 6, 2009 November 6, 2009 n/a Peter Campbell Sackett Lynchburg, VA October 27, 2009 n/a Gary Lance Smith Winchester, VA November 17, 2009 n/a *Respondent has noted an appeal with the Supreme Court of Virginia. **Supreme Court granted stay of suspension pending appeal. ***Respondent withdrew the appeal. Virginia Lawyer Register The Official Publication of the Virginia State Bar Editor: Rodney A. Coggin Assistant Editor: Dawn Chase Design & Production: Madonna G. Dersch The Virginia State Bar publishes the Virginia Lawyer Register five times annually. The Register is primarily a compilation of disciplinary actions against attorneys licensed to practice law in the commonwealth; administrative suspensions; legal ethics opinions; and proposed amendments to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. All documents submitted to the state bar for inclusion in the Register are subject to alteration as to typography and formatting, in order to conform to the requirements of the Register, without changing the intent of any document. Virginia Lawyer (USPS , ISSN ) is published ten times a year in alternating formats by the Virginia State Bar, Eighth & Main Building, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia ; telephone (804) Subscription Rates: $18.00 per year for nonmembers. This material is presented with the understanding that the publisher and the authors do not render any legal, accounting, or other professional service. It is intended for use by attorneys licensed to practice law in Virginia. Because of the rapidly changing nature of the law, information contained in this publication may become outdated. As a result, an attorney using this material must always research original sources of authority and update information to ensure accuracy when dealing with a specific client s legal matters. In no event will the authors, the reviewers, or the publisher be liable for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages resulting from the use of this material. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Virginia State Bar. Periodical postage paid at Richmond, Virginia, and other offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Virginia State Bar Membership Department Eighth & Main Building 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500 Richmond, Virginia Virginia Lawyer Register January 2010 DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS The following are summaries of disciplinary actions for violations of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) (Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, II, eff. Jan. 1, 2000) or another of the Supreme Court rules (Rules). References to Part 6, IV, 13 refer to the reformatted Rules effective May 1, 2009, unless otherwise indicated. Copies of complete disciplinary orders are available at the Web link provided with each summary or by contacting the Virginia State Bar Clerk s Office at (804) or VSB docket numbers are provided. CIRCUIT COURTS CARL HERMAN BUNDICK Accomac, Virginia On September 24, 2009, a three-judge panel in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court imposed a public reprimand with terms on Carl Herman Bundick for violating disciplinary rules that govern diligence and communication. The misconduct occurred in his representation in a divorce. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(a-c) found he violated disciplinary rules that govern diligence, communication, declining or terminating representation, and unauthorized practice of law when he filed a pleading on behalf of a client during a time when his license was suspended. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(b); 1.16(a)(1); 5.5(a)(1) WALTER WARE MORRISON Virginia Beach, Virginia Effective October 15, 2009, a three-judge panel in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court suspended Walter Ware Morrison s license to practice law for ninety days for violating professional rules that govern candor toward the tribunal and misconduct that reflects adversely on a lawyer s fitness to practice. The case involved a visitation and custody dispute. RPC 3.3(a)(1), 8.4(c) ANDREW ROBERT SEBOK Norfolk, Virginia WALTER FRANKLIN GREEN IV Harrisonburg, Virginia On November 12, 2009, a three-judge panel in the Rockingham County Circuit Court suspended Walter Franklin Green IV s license to practice law for seven months, to begin December 26, 2010, following an eighteen-month suspension that Mr. Green is currently serving. The court On July 15, 2009, the Supreme Court of Virginia stayed the following suspension pending appeal. Mr. Sebok filed the appeal on December 10, On June 26, 2009, a three-judge panel in the Norfolk Circuit Court suspended Andrew Robert Sebok s license to practice law for three months, effective July 17, Mr. Sebok violated disciplinary rules that govern diligence, communication, and declining or terminating representation. The misconduct occurred in his courtappointed representation of a client in a criminal appeal. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(b); 1.16(d) Virginia Lawyer Register January DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES GEORGE ANTHONY YANCEY Norfolk, Virginia On September 29, 2009, a three-judge panel of the Norfolk Circuit Court issued a public admonition with terms to George Anthony Yancey for violating professional rules that govern diligence and termination of representation. The terms require him to replace the transcript he lost in a habeas case. RPC 1.3(a); 1.16(d) Final order: Public admonition: GEORGE ANTHONY YANCEY Norfolk, Virginia On September 29, 2009, a three-judge panel in the Norfolk Circuit Court issued a public reprimand to George Anthony Yancey for violating disciplinary rules that govern competence, diligence, and responsibilities regarding nonlawyer assistants. The misconduct occurred when Mr. Yancey defaulted on an appeal in a court-appointed criminal case. RPC 1.1; 1.3(a); 5.3(a) Final order: Final memorandum: Memorandum order: STEVEN SCOTT BISS Petersburg, Virginia DISCIPLINARY BOARD Effective January 1, 2010, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board imposed a thirty-day suspension of Steven Scott Biss s license to practice law, for violating the professional rule governing misconduct that reflects adversely on the lawyer s fitness to practice. During a previous suspension of his law license, Mr. Biss continued to negotiate with an insurance company on behalf of a client in a personal injury matter. RPC 8.4(c) ANTHONY GEROME DAVIS Birmingham, Alabama On October 19, 2009, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Anthony Gerome Davis s license to practice law for eight months with terms. The board found that he violated disciplinary rules that govern diligence, communication, safekeeping property, declining or terminating representation, and bar admission and disciplinary matters. The misconduct occurred in a custody case. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.3(a); 1.14(a); 1.15(a)(1),(2); 1.16(d); 8.1(c) 4 Virginia Lawyer Register January 2010 DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES MATTHEW BENNETT GREENE London, United Kingdom , On November 10, 2009, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Matthew Bennett Greene s license to practice law. In consenting to the revocation, Mr. Greene acknowledged that he was facing ethics charges in two cases and admitted that the material facts of the charges are true. The cases involved his representations in property investment projects. Rules Part 6, IV, ANNE MARSTON LYNCH Portsmouth, Virginia On December 4, 2009, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Anne Marston Lynch s license to practice law. In agreeing to the revocation, Ms. Lynch acknowledged that she had been indicted on a felony embezzlement charge in Suffolk Circuit Court and that the facts of the case are true. Rules Part 6, IV, DANIEL STEPHEN ORCI JR. Washington, D.C On October 23, 2009, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Daniel Stephen Orci Jr. s license to practice law in response to his July 2, 2009, disbarment in the District of Columbia by the D.C. Court of Appeals. His Virginia license was summarily suspended on September 25, 2009, pending a board hearing. Rules Part 6, IV, A DISTRICT COMMITTEES SUSAN PAGE ALLEN Richmond, Virginia On October 29, 2009, a Virginia State Bar Third District-Section I Subcommittee imposed a public reprimand on Susan Page Allen for violating professional rules that govern diligence and conflict of interest: general rule. The misconduct occurred in a real estate case. RPC 1.3(a); 1.7(a)(1),(2),(b)(1-4) JOHN WESLEY BONNEY Norfolk, Virginia , , On October 26, 2009, a Virginia State Bar Second District Subcommittee issued a public reprimand with terms to John Wesley Bonney for violating disciplinary rules that govern diligence, fees, declining or terminating representation, firm names and letterheads, and misconduct that reflects adversely on a lawyer s fitness to practice law. The subcommittee ordered Mr. Bonney to refund money to two clients and to vacate a judgment against one of the clients. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.3(a); 1.5(a); 1.16(c),(d); 7.5(a); 8.4(b),(c) Virginia Lawyer Register January DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES LINDA LEE CUPIT Virginia Beach, Virginia CRYSTAL ANITA GIST FISHER Waldorf, Maryland and On October 26, 2009, a Virginia State Bar Second District Subcommittee imposed a public admonition with terms on Linda Lee Cupit for violating professional rules that govern safekeeping property and for not performing required reconciliations of her escrow account. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. 1.15(a)(1),(2), (e)(1)(i-v), (f)(4)(i),(ii),(5)(i-iii) On October 22, 2009, a Virginia State Bar Fourth District-Section II Subcommittee issued a public reprimand with terms to Crystal Anita Gist Fisher for violating disciplinary rules that govern diligence and communication. The misconduct occurred in two employment discrimination matters. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.3(a), 1.4(a) KELLY RALSTON DENNIS McLean, Virginia On November 5, 2009, a Virginia State Bar Fifth District-Section I Subcommittee issued a public reprimand with terms on Kelly Ralston Dennis for violating disciplinary rules that govern competence, diligence, communication, and conflict of interest: general rule. The violations occurred during representation in matters involving creditors collection efforts against Mr. Dennis s client. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. VERNON KEEVE JR. Fredericksburg, Virginia On December 1, 2009, a Virginia State Bar Sixth District subcommittee issued a public reprimand to Vernon Keeve Jr. for violating disciplinary rules that govern diligence, communication, safekeeping property, declining or terminating representation, and fairness to opposing party and counsel. The misconduct occurred during his representation of a client in a personal injury case. This was an agreed disposition of ethics charges. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(a),(c); 1.15(c)(4); 1.16(a)(2); 3.4(a),(d) 6 Virginia Lawyer Register January 2010 NOTICES TO MEMBERS LEGAL ETHICS OPINIONS APPROVED OPINION LEO 1852 EMPLOYMENT LIMITATIONS FOR SUSPENDED OR REVOKED LAWYERS Effective: On December 9, 2009, the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics approved the advisory Legal Ethics Opinion Details: WITHDRAWN OPINION LEO 1553 ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSIONS As required by the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 19, the Virginia State Bar has posted a list of members who were administratively suspended on October 9, 2009, for failure to comply with Paragraphs 11 and 16, 18, or 19 of the Rules of Court or Sections or of the Code of Virginia. These attorneys were notified of their suspensions at their current addresses of record with the Virginia State Bar; however, in some instances, this has not been effective. To assist the VSB in re-establishing contact with these attorneys, anyone with knowledge of the present location and practice status of persons on this list should contact the Membership Department at (804) or This list was last updated on December 4, Details: COMMUNICATION WITH ADVERSE PARTIES: PARENT S COUNSEL IN CUSTODY DISPUTE MEETING WITH MINOR CHILD On December 9, 2009, the Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Legal Ethics withdrew Legal Ethics Opinion 1553 (October 20, 1993), which opines that there is no improper ex parte communication because the child (represented by a lawyer or guardian ad litem) was not a party in the custody proceeding. The committee withdrew the opinion because it was based on Disciplinary Rule 7-103, which predates current Rules of Professional Conduct 4.2. Rule 4.2, adopted in 2000, prohibits communications with persons represented by counsel and not merely parties. * * NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR VSB COMMITTEES PRESIDENT-ELECT BLANK SEEKS COMMITTEE MEMBERS FOR TERMS STARTING JULY 2010 Virginia State Bar President-elect Irving M. Blank invites Virginia lawyers to volunteer for committees essential to the self-regulation of the legal profession. Appointments generally will be for three-year terms that run from July 1, 2010, to June 30, If you want to be considered for an appointment, fill out the form at the link below and send it to the bar at (fax) or by March 9, Persons of diversity are encouraged to apply. Form: Virginia Lawyer Register January PROPOSAL FOR PUBLIC COMMENT FEBRUARY COUNCIL PROPOSAL The Virginia State Bar seeks public comment on the following proposal, which will be considered at the VSB Council meeting on February 27, 2010, in Richmond. Comments should be sent in writing to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, VA 23219, no later than end of business on the date of deadline. SAFEKEEPING PROPERTY AND MAINTENANCE OF TRUST ACCOUNTS Deadline for comment: February 8, 2010 The Standing Committee on Legal Ethics proposes an amendment to Rule 1.15, Safekeeping Property, that eliminates redundancy in the rule and clarifies the rule s record-keeping requirements for Virginia lawyers. In addition, the committee proposes modifications to Paragraph 20 that include elimination of the regulations for the approval of financial institutions as a depository for attorney trust accounts in Virginia. Specifically, the committee proposes restructuring Rule 1.15 to: 1. combine the requirements as they apply to lawyers and fiduciaries; 2. eliminate the terms used to refer to certain records and replace them with specific descriptions of the type of records that need to be maintained; 3. eliminate the rule s redundant definitions; 4. eliminate detailed requirements from the rule that were specifically applicable to financial institutions, as that information is included in the Virginia State Bar Approved Financial Institution Agreement; 5. add a specific requirement to the rule that a lawyer cannot disburse funds or use property of a client or third party without the client s consent or convert or misappropriate funds or property of a client or third party, except as directed by a tribunal; 6. add language to Comment [6] that gives additional guidance to lawyers using electronic banking transactions; 7. add specific language requiring a lawyer to hold funds in escrow when a third party has made a claim against those funds; and 8. add titles to subparagraphs for simplicity and clarity. The amendments to Paragraph 20 would accomplish the following: 1. define a financial institution approved by the Virginia State Bar; 2. clarify the different types of trust accounts that can be opened, as well as create an opt-out provision; and 3. outline the specific requirements that financial institutions must follow as Virginia State Bar approved financial institutions. This amended Paragraph 20 would incorporate a new Virginia State Bar Approved Financial Agreement that all financial institutions must execute in order to be approved by the Virginia State Bar. The agreement would be incorporated by reference as an appendix to the rule. (Amendments to Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15 and Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia Part 6, IV, 20) Details: and For easier access to the documents cited in this magazine, the Virginia Lawyer Register is posted with live Internet links at 8 Virginia Lawyer Register January 2010
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