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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Public Reprimand No. 2005Ė6



SUSAN ROSBURY CHRISTENSEN

Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board June 3, 2005.

SUMMARY1


In July 2003, a wife and her mother-in-law retained the respondent to prepare and record deeds transferring property between them. In addition, the wife retained the respondent to amend her and her husbandís wills. Other than having the wife and the mother-in-law come to her office to execute deeds, the respondent took no action of substance in either matter.

On April 29, 2004, the husband went to the respondentís office and told her that other counsel had been retained to redraft the wills. The husband demanded that the respondent refund the fee, which the respondent did immediately.

On July 6, 2004, the wife spoke by telephone with the respondent and asked for copies of the deeds that had been signed in July 2003. When the respondent reviewed the wifeís file, she found that the original deeds were still in the file and had never been recorded with the registry. The respondent did not inform the wife that the deeds had not been recorded. Over the next two weeks, the wife left at least two telephone messages at the respondentís office requesting copies of the deeds. The respondent did not return the telephone calls.

In early August 2004, the wife went to the registry of deeds and learned that the respondent had not recorded the deeds. The wife immediately retained another lawyer to prepare and record the deeds.

In October 2004, the wife contacted the respondent and demanded the refund of the fee that had been paid to the respondent in July 2003. On December 3, 2004, the respondent refunded the entire fee.

The respondentís conduct in failing to file the deeds, failing to revise the wills, failing to turn over the deeds to the wife, and failing to respond to the wifeís requests for information violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.2(a), 1.3, and 1.4(a). In aggravation, in 2000, the respondent received an admonition for neglect and failing to communicate adequately with her client. Ad 00-22, 16 Mass. Attíy Disc. R. 481 (2000). In mitigation, the respondent and her family have suffered significant medical problems since 2000, which caused the respondent to divert time and attention from her law practice.

This matter came before the Board of Bar Overseers on a stipulation of facts and disciplinary violations and a joint recommendation for discipline by public reprimand. On May 9, 2005, the Board voted to accept the partiesí stipulation and recommendation and imposed a public reprimand.

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



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