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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Public Reprimand Nos. 2002-09



IN RE: PAUL NATHAN

Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board April 22, 2002.

SUMMARY1


The respondents are partners in a law firm that concentrates in personal injury law. They maintain and are signatories on an IOLTA account into which the firm deposits client or other trust funds and from which the firm disburses those funds. From January 1995 through December 1997, the respondents failed to withdraw promptly all funds in the IOLTA account that were due them as earned fees. Moreover, the respondents failed during that period to make or maintain adequate records of all their deposits to and disbursements from the IOLTA account.

Between January 1995 and December 1997, the respondents issued at least three payments to clients from their IOLTA account as advances on the expected proceeds of clients’ PIP and bodily injury claims. When they made those advance payments, the respondents intended to draw on their own fees on deposit in the IOLTA account. In fact, as a result of their inadequate record keeping, the respondents negligently used other clients’ funds to pay the client advances, without intent to deprive any clients of their funds and with no deprivation resulting.

During the same time period, the respondents issued payments to their law firm for fees from their IOLTA account. When they made those payments, the respondents intended to draw on fees on deposit in the IOLTA account. In fact, as a result of their inadequate record keeping, the respondents on occasion negligently used other clients’ funds to pay these fees, without intent to deprive any clients of their funds and with no deprivation resulting.

The respondents’ commingling and negligent misuse of client funds, and their failure to keep adequate records for all those funds violated Canon One, DR 1-102(A)(6), and Canon Nine, DR 9-102(A) and (B)(3).

Beginning in January 1998 the respondents instituted changes to their record keeping procedures to prevent a recurrence of these problems.

The parties stipulated that the appropriate sanction was a public reprimand conditioned on the respondents’ attendance at a continuing legal education course designated by Bar Counsel. On April 8, 2002 the Board of Bar Overseers voted to adopt the parties’ stipulation and proposed sanction. On April 11, 2002 the respondents received a public reprimand.

1 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record of proceedings before the Board.



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