Mass.gov
   
Mass.Gov home Mass.gov  home get things done agencies Search Mass.Gov


Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2005-025

IN RE: JOHN S. POMEROY

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Greaney on August 24, 2005.1

SUMMARY2

The respondent concentrated his practice primarily in the field of immigration law. Commencing in or about July 2004, the respondent effectively abandoned his law practice. He ceased communicating with most of his clients in pending matters and failed to return clients’ telephone calls or to reply to their letters. Clients were unable to contact him and he was not working on their cases.

Two clients filed complaints against the respondent with the Office of Bar Counsel. In both matters the respondent neglected the clients’ immigration cases and failed to communicate with them. The respondent failed to reply to bar counsel’s inquiries regarding these complaints, necessitating the issuance of a subpoena for his appearance at the Office of Bar Counsel on December 7, 2004.

At the subpoena meeting on December 7, 2004, the respondent stated that he had decided to retire from the practice of law. The respondent agreed to refund all unearned retainers and to write to his clients to advise them to pick up their case files. The respondent further agreed to provide bar counsel with weekly updates regarding his progress in notifying his clients and refunding unearned retainers. The respondent failed to provide bar counsel with the promised reports, failed to notify all clients that he was leaving the practice of law and failed to refund all unearned retainers and unpaid filing fees. Three more clients then filed complaints with bar counsel alleging neglect of their cases by the respondent, or failure to communicate, or both.

The respondent was temporarily suspended from the practice of law pending further disciplinary proceedings on April 5, 2005 and, pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, §17(2), a commissioner was appointed to take possession of his remaining active files. The commissioner returned files to clients with pending matters. Some of these clients had paid the respondent legal fees that have not been either earned or refunded or filing fees that have not been either paid or refunded.

By failing to seek the objectives of his clients and failing to act diligently in their immigration cases, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.2 (a) and 1.3. By failing to communicate with clients, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4.

By failing to return files and to refund unearned legal fees and unpaid filing fees, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.16 (d). By failing to cooperate with bar counsel’s investigation, necessitating the issuance of a subpoena for his appearance at the Office of Bar Counsel, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4 (g) and Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01§ 3.

The respondent has been a member of the bar since 1977. In aggravation, he received an admonition in 2003 for neglect and failure to communicate with clients in two immigration matters as well as failure to cooperate with bar counsel’s investigation. In mitigation, the respondent became severely depressed after the 1996 death of his wife. His depression interfered with his law practice and also kept him from properly communicating with his clients. After the appointment of the commissioner, the respondent cooperated with bar counsel and the commissioner by voluntarily provided a list of all pending cases. He reviewed the status of the cases with bar counsel and delivered all of his pending files to the Office of Bar Counsel.

This matter came before the Board on a stipulation of facts and disciplinary violations and a joint recommendation that the respondent be suspended for one year and a day. On July 18, 2005, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to accept the parties’ stipulation and recommendation for discipline, and on August 24, 2005, the Court so ordered.

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.



BBO/OBC Privacy Policy. Please direct all questions to webmaster@massbbo.org.
© 2005. Board of Bar Overseers. Office of Bar Counsel. All rights reserved.