Maryland Suspends Attorney Who Failed To Competently And Diligently Represent A Minor

Attorney Grievance Commission v. GELLER KIRWAN, Md: Court of Appeals 2016 – Google Scholar:

The lawyer was appointed to represent a minor in an accident case but took no actions.

This is a discussion of one of the violations.

MLRPC 1.1 states, “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” A lawyer violates MLRPC 1.1 when he or she fails to act or acts in an untimely manner, which results in harm to his or her client. Attorney Grievance Comm’n v. Garrett, 427 Md. 209, 222 (2012) (quoting Attorney Grievance Comm’n v. Brown, 426 Md. 298, 319 (2012)).

As the hearing judge stated, Ms. Kirwan’s failure to take any meaningful action towards pursuing her client’s claim did not meet the standards of competent practitioners and Ms. Kirwan was not adequately prepared, which resulted in harm to T.N. Ms. Kirwan spoke with Ms. S. in the two months after the retainer agreement was signed and received T.N.’s medical records, which were collected by Ms. S. Ms. Kirwan testified that she began drafting a letter to the City Solicitor to place the City on notice of her client’s claim, though she presented no evidence of this letter’s existence at the hearing. Ms. Kirwan also did not present evidence of any other substantive work performed on behalf of T.N. The hearing judge found that Ms. Kirwan’s failure to act harmed her client since the statute of limitations lapsed and T.N. is now unable to pursue her claim against the City.[3] For these reasons, the hearing judge found that Ms. Kirwan violated MLRPC 1.1. We agree. Ms. Kirwan failed to take the necessary steps to further her client’s case. Therefore, Ms. Kirwan violated MLRPC 1.1.”

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