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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2005-066

IN RE: EDWARD J. SHAGORY

S.J.C. Judgment of Resignation entered by Justice Cordy on August 11, 2005, with an effective date of September 10, 2005.1

SUMMARY2

In April 1998, the respondent was retained to represent a client in a real estate sale. The respondent orally agreed with the client to charge a fee at the rate of $150.00 an hour and to take any fees in excess of his retainer from the proceeds of the real estate sale. By July 19, 1999, the client had paid the respondent a retainer of $1,450.00, which the respondent deposited into his IOLTA Account.

The respondentís record-keeping for his IOLTA account was inadequate. As a result, the respondent did not retain the clientís funds in his IOLTA account, but negligently used the funds to pay personal and unrelated business expenses prior to earning those funds as a fee.

On October 7, 1999, the closing on the sale of the property took place at the office of the lenderís counsel. By February 11, 2000, the respondent had received no less than $20,916.18, which represented his clientís share of the net proceeds from the sale. The respondent deposited these funds into his IOLTA account.

In February 2000, the respondent sent his client a bill showing a balance owed of $4,957.60. The respondent took the balance of his fee from the net sale proceeds. In fact, the actual balance owed to the respondent was no more than $3,507.60, but the respondent had forgotten to credit the client with the retainer of $1,450.00.

By no later than January 2001, the client was requesting that the respondent provide him an accounting for his time and expenses. The respondent did not respond to the requests.

On January 2, 2002, the clientís wife contacted an investigator employed by the Attorney Consumer Assistance Program (ďACAPĒ) of the Office of the Bar Counsel concerning the respondentís failure to provide an accounting and respond to the clientís requests for information. Between January 2, 2002 and February 25, 2002, the ACAP investigator left at least three messages with the respondentís secretary regarding the matter. The respondent did not respond to any of these messages. On April 1, 2002, the clientís wife filed a complaint that the respondent had failed to adequately account for his fee and respond to the clientís requests for information.

On July 7, 2002, the respondent submitted to bar counsel an accounting of his fee in which he mistakenly claimed that by November 18, 1999, he had received no more than $2,000.00 from his client. In fact, by that date the respondent had received no less than $3,450.00. The respondent did not make restitution to the client of the $1,450.00 retainer that he paid himself twice until November 24, 2003.

On June 23, 2005, the respondent filed an affidavit of resignation pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, ß 15. The respondent admitted that his negligent misuse of the clientís funds and his inadequate record-keeping violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.15(a) and (b), (a lawyer shall hold property of clients or third persons separate from the lawyer's own property; keep complete records of the receipt, maintenance, and disposition of such funds; promptly deliver to the client any funds that the client is entitled to receive; and promptly render a full accounting regarding such property). The respondent further admitted that his failure to respond to the clientís requests for information, his failure to provide the client with an accounting of his time and work performed, and his failure to respond to ACAPís requests for information violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4(a) (lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information) and Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4 (g) and (h) (lawyer shall not fail without good cause to cooperate with the Bar Counsel or the Board of Bar Overseers as provided in Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, ß 3, and engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law).

On July 18, 2005, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to recommend to the Supreme Judicial Court that the respondentís affidavit of resignation be accepted as a disciplinary sanction. On August 11, 2005, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County entered judgment accepting the respondentís affidavit of resignation as a disciplinary sanction.

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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