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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-1999-064

IN RE: DAVID J. LUFF

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension (One year and one day) entered by Justice Greaney on February 1, 2001, with an effective date of March 1, 2001. 1

SUMMARY 2

The respondent was admitted to the Bar in 1985 and practiced primarily in the field of immigration law. In or before January 1999, the respondent closed his office in Framingham, Massachusetts. At that time, he effectively abandoned his law practice. He ceased communicating with most of his clients in pending matters. Clients were unable to contact him and he failed to return clients' telephone calls or to reply to their letters. He did not continue to work on their matters and necessary documents and other responses were not filed with the INS.

Seven such clients on immigration matters filed complaints with Bar Counsel. As a result, and pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, §12A, the respondent was temporarily suspended from the practice of law pending further disciplinary proceedings on September 16, 1999. Pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, §17(2), a commissioner was appointed to take possession of his remaining active files and to return files to other clients with pending matters. Some of these clients had paid the respondent retainers that were neither earned nor refunded.

The respondent's conduct was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, and 1.16(d). In mitigation, the respondent suffered serious injuries as a result of a motorcycle accident in 1966 when he was 18 years old. Until his divorce several years ago, he practiced law on a limited basis that he found manageable. However, after the divorce, he increased his case load to attempt to keep up with support payments. In July 1998, he was diagnosed with a major depression and other neurological problems. The respondent then commenced a rehabilitation program to help him compensate.

The matter came before the Board of Bar Overseers on a stipulation of facts and disciplinary violations and a joint recommendation that the respondent be suspended for a year and a day. On September 11, 2000, the Board voted to accept the stipulation and to recommend the agreed-upon disposition to the Supreme Judicial Court. The Court so ordered on February 1, 2001.


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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