06.23.2014 Consent Order of Discipline [Duplin County]
On June 18, 2014, a Hearing Panel of the Disciplinary Hearing Commission suspended Mary Phillips. Phillips failed to file annual accountings regarding a client’s estate, failed to respond to orders of the Clerk, failing to close out the client’s estate nearly five years after the estate was opened violating the duty of diligence and promptness in representing clients. She also ignored rules of the tribunals in this representation. She failed to respond to various parties invested in the estate and to pay those invested. On more than one occasion, Phillips did not properly act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representation, and failed to provide requested information. During this time, Phillips suffered from depression and anxiety, which contributed to her neglect and failure to timely respond.
The Hearing Panel found that Phillips had violated the following Rules of Professional Conduct:
- Rule 1.3 (Diligence)
- Rule 1.4 (Communication)
- Rule 1.15-2 (Trust Accounts)
- Rule 1.15-3 (Records and Accountings)
- Rule 1-16 (Declining or Terminating Representation)
- Rule 3.4 (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel)
- Rule 8.1 (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters)
- Rule 8.4 (Misconduct)
Due to this conduct and multiple violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Phillips was suspended for three years from the practice of law.
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