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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2008-013

IN RE: JENNIFER R. RAYMOND

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Cowin on February 6, 2008, with an effective date of March 7, 2008.1

SUMMARY2

During 2004 and until April 4, 2005, the respondent was a staff attorney at a legal services agency. Between March and December 2004, the respondent was assigned to represent three clients in their individual divorces. In each instance, the respondent failed to take any steps of substance to pursue the divorce, and intentionally misrepresented to the client that her divorce had been granted. The respondentís misconduct was discovered when one of the three clients contacted the agency to inquire about her divorce papers. After the respondentís misconduct was discovered, the agency reassigned the three clients to other attorneys who completed the divorces.

By failing to prosecute the legal matters on behalf of her clients, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.1, 1.2(a), and 1.3. By intentionally making misrepresentations to her clients regarding the status of their matters, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c). By failing to inform the clients of the status of their matters and by misinforming them that they had been divorced, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4(a) and (b).

In aggravation, during the year 2000, the respondent failed to act diligently and made misrepresentations to clients regarding the status of their matters in two cases in Maine. As a result of her misconduct, the respondent was the subject of two orders of public reprimand from the Supreme Judicial Court of the state of Maine: Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Jennifer R. Raymond, File No. GCF 03-191(December 2, 2003) and Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Jennifer R. Raymond, File No. GCF 04-270 (June 28, 2005). The respondentís misconduct in the two matters occurred during the same time period. The second matter, however, was not uncovered until nearly two years had passed since the first order of reprimand. The respondent was the subject of reciprocal reprimands in Massachusetts for her conduct in both matters: Matter of Raymond, 20 Mass. Attíy. Disc. Rep. 456 (2004), and Matter of Raymond, 21 Mass. Attíy. Disc. R. 556 (2005). Further, the respondentís conduct in advising clients that they were divorced when they were not had the potential of causing substantial harm to the clients.

In mitigation, the respondent was overwhelmed with emotional problems and a serious medical condition during the time her misconduct occurred. In April 2005, the respondent resigned from her staff position at the legal service agency, and the respondent voluntarily ceased to practice law. The respondent has been engaged in non-legal employment since she left the legal service agency. The respondent has also sought therapy for her emotional problems.

The parties stipulated that the appropriate sanction was a two-year suspension. On January 14, 2008, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to accept the partiesí stipulation and recommendation, and to file an information with the Supreme Judicial Court. On February 6, 2008, the Court ordered the respondent to be suspended from the practice of law for two years.


FOOTNOTES:

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 Supreme Judicial Court.



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