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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2002-012

IN RE: PAUL K. HARRINGTON

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Spina on March 27, 2002, with an effective date of April 26, 2002.1

SUMMARY2

The respondent was admitted to practice on December 17, 1991. In February 2000, a prospective client met with the respondent to discuss a potential breach of contract suit against a corporation. The client gave his file to the respondent and the respondent agreed to review the matter. When he did not hear back from the respondent, the client over the next several months repeatedly left messages for the respondent by telephone and email, requesting the return of his file. The respondent did not reply.

The respondentís failure to respond to the clientís inquiries is conduct in violation of Mass. R. of Prof. C. 1.3 and 1.4. The respondentís failure to return the clientís file is conduct in violation of Mass. R. of Prof. C. 1.16(e).

On March 26, 2001, the client filed a complaint with Bar Counsel. On April 4, 2001, Bar Counsel wrote to the respondent, enclosing a copy of the clientís complaint. The respondent did not answer either that letter or letters from Bar Counsel sent later in the spring of 2001. The respondent also did not appear pursuant to a subpoena issued by the Board of Bar Overseers in June 2001. As a result, on petition by Bar Counsel pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, ß 3, the Supreme Judicial Court on July 5, 2001, issued an order of administrative suspension.

The respondentís failure to cooperate with Bar Counselís investigation is conduct in violation of Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, ß 3 and Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(g).

Bar Counsel filed a petition for discipline against the respondent on November 8, 2001. The respondent failed to file an answer to the petition. By letter dated December 14, 2001, the Board of Bar Overseers notified the respondent that the allegations in the petition were deemed admitted and that he had 20 days to seek relief from default. When no response was received, the Board notified the respondent by letter dated January 9, 2002, that determination of the appropriate discipline would be made on the basis of the documents in the file.

On February 11, 2002, the Board voted to recommend to the Supreme Judicial Court that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year and a day. The respondentís failure to participate in the disciplinary proceedings was considered as a matter in aggravation. The Court ordered a suspension of one year and a day on March 27, 2002.

1 The complete Order of the Court is available by contacting the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.

2 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record before the Court.



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