f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 6, 2004

Deceptive Billing Brings Disbarment

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:34 pm

Lawyer Bobby Glenn Adkins Jr. seems to think his clients should pay for the time he spends responding to their valid bar grievances.   So, Bobby billed three clients for such activities, simply calling them “legal services.”    Bobby is now disbarred and ethicalEsq sends its sincere thanks to the Supreme Court of Georgia.  (See, Fulton County Daily Report, “Aggressive Billing Tactics Lead to Disbarment,” 03-08-04) (thanks to The Legal Reader for the initial pointer, and Overlawyered for digging out the court opinion)

 

According to the Daily Report article, one case involved a mere $40, but:


When the couple’s son disputed the amount, “Adkins began sending threatening letters stating that he would sue the couple and seek to foreclose on their home, even though he later testified that he had no intention of taking either action,” according to the court.

After the son filed a grievance with the bar, Adkins sent more threatening letters, sued the son for defamation and sent the couple an invoice for $370, according to the decision
.

The article notes that “Adkins denied that he charged clients for his time responding to their Bar complaints, saying, ‘Nobody was ever deceived.'”  Of course, whether he charged them and whether they were deceived are two separate issues  — the clients all knew he had performed no additional legal services for them when these new amounts were billed.

exit  The Court stressed the deception involved in trying to cover up the improper billing under the vague term “legal services,” adding “In aggravation of discipline, we note the pattern of misconduct, multiple offenses involved, Adkins’ deceit, and his refusal to acknowledge the wrongful nature of the conduct.”



  • If there is any Bad News here, it comes from Adkins’ allegation that bar counsel were willing to merely issue a reprimand if he admitted the unethical conduct. Although Adkins calls a reprimand a “draconian demand”,  such discipline would have been far too lenient for this type of deception.  The greater penalty might have been recommended by the review panel out of pique, because of Adkins’ stubborness, as opposed to the gravity of the offense.  According to the Daily Report article, bar counsel “could not be reached to confirm the Bar’s plea offer. Senior Assistant General Counsel Jenny K. Mittelman said they could not discuss the case while Adkins still had time to ask the court to reconsider.”  I don’t know if the inadequate sanction had been offered, but I hope not.

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