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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2006-076

IN RE: EDWARD M. CRONIN, JR.

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Cordy on September 14, 2006.1

SUMMARY2

This sanction was imposed upon the respondentís default.

In about October 2003, the respondent agreed to represent a client on a wrongful discharge claim and his claims for long-term disability benefits against his former employer. In November 2003, the respondent entered into a contingent fee agreement with the client. The respondent took no further action as to his clientís claims.

During meetings with the client in 2004, the respondent falsely represented that he had filed a complaint on his behalf. In November 2004, the client asked the respondent to tell him in what court his lawsuit was filed and to provide him with a copy of the complaint. The respondent never provided the client with a copy of the complaint and never informed him that he had not filed a lawsuit on his behalf.

By letter to the respondent in March 2005, the client asked the respondent to provide him with a copy of the complaint and to return his records by the end of March 2005. The respondent did not reply and did not return his file.

The respondentís conduct in failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness on the clientís case violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.3. The respondentís conduct in falsely representing to the client that he had filed a lawsuit on his behalf violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c). The respondentís failure to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of his case and to explain the matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4 (a) and (b). The respondentís failure upon termination of his services to return the papers supplied by the client and the files due to his client at his request, violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.16(d) and (e).

In a second matter, the respondent agreed in April 2005, to represent a client in her appeal to an insurer from the termination of her long-term disability benefits. The respondent also agreed to assist her with her claims for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.

When the appeal had not been filed by late 2005, the client discharged the respondent and requested that he return her file by letters in December 2005 and January 2006. The respondent did not reply and did not return her file. The respondentís conduct in failing to return his clientís file violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.16(d) and (e).

The respondent failed to cooperate with Bar Counselís investigation of both complaints. He only provided an answer and his file in the first matter after he was administratively suspended in August 2005, pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, ß 3(2) for failure to cooperate with bar counselís investigation. He was then reinstated on September 27, 2005. To date, he never responded to the second clientís complaint and has not provided Bar Counsel with her file. On April 21, 2006, he was administratively suspended for failure to register with the Board and to pay an annual fee pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:02 (1) and 4:03(2). On May 22, 2006, the respondent was again administratively suspended pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, ß 3(2) for failure to cooperate with bar counselís investigation.

The respondentís failure to reply to Bar Counselís inquiries and to cooperate with Bar Counselís investigations violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(g) and Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, ß 3.

Bar counsel filed a petition for discipline on May 26, 2006. The respondent failed to file an answer to the petition. By letter dated June 19, 2006, the Board of Bar Overseers notified the respondent that the allegations in the petition were deemed admitted and that he had waived his right to be heard in mitigation. The respondentís failure to cooperate in the disciplinary process was considered as further aggravation.

The Supreme Judicial Court entered an order of suspension for a year and a day.

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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