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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2009-075

IN RE: MATTHEW P. VINCENT

S.J.C. Judgment of Resignation As A Disciplinary Sanction entered by Justice Spina on August 24, 2009, with an effective date of September 23, 2009.1

SUMMARY2

The respondent submitted his resignation from the Bar while disciplinary charges were pending. The Board recommended that the resignation be accepted as a disciplinary sanction, and the Court entered judgment so accepting the resignation.

The respondent specialized in patents and related matters, primarily in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. He customarily billed his clients at an hourly rate for his legal services and also billed for expenses incurred. The expenses for which he billed routinely included the use of independent patent research firms to examine patent databases and to extract and deliver relevant scientific journal articles and other documents.

At some time prior to April, 2002, the respondent formed a business entity known as ďThe IP Resource CompanyĒ to perform patent database searches, giving as an address a post office box. He did not inform either his law partners or his clients that he was the owner and operator of The IP Resource Company.

Beginning in approximately April, 2002, and continuing through approximately September, 2008, the respondent prepared and submitted to his law firm sixty separate invoices from The IP Resource Company, each invoice relating to multiple patent matters. The invoices stated, in summary terms, that The IP Resource Company had performed research tasks on a total of approximately 3449 separate client matters and was entitled to payment of a total of $733,771.30 for those services. The invoices did not itemize costs, services rendered, dates on which services were rendered, or time spent.

The respondent approved each of the sixty invoices for payment and forwarded them to his firmís accounting department. Relying on the respondentís approval, the respondentís firm paid the invoices and billed the appropriate clients for the service.

The respondent either never maintained or did not retain the underlying billing records for the invoices submitted by The IP Resource Company, and he cannot satisfactorily account for costs incurred and services rendered.

The respondentís conduct constituted misrepresentation in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(c), failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation, in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.4(b), and entering into an improper business contract with a client in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.8(a); as well as a conflict of interest in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.7(b) and conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(h).


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 filed with the Supreme Judicial Court.



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