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Legal Ethics

Lawyers Defend Long-Distance Supervision of Overwhelmed Associate

Posted Jun 9, 2008 12:15 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Two lemon-law lawyers accused of failing to adequately supervise an overwhelmed associate faced skeptical judges on Maryland’s highest court on Friday.

Lawyers Craig Kimmel and Robert Silverman of Pennsylvania, founders of the 1-800-Lemon-Law firm, said they supervised the Maryland associate through phone calls and e-mail, the Daily Record reports. Thirty-four of the associate’s cases were dismissed when she failed to keep up with discovery. She had filed 461 cases in little under a year.

The Daily Record reported on the oral arguments. Lawyer Charles Martinez argued for the lawyers that communicating this way is “a well-established fact of law firm existence in this day and age.” He urged a “mild sanction” rather than the indefinite suspension recommended by the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission.

But Chief Judge Robert Bell said the lawyers could have examined the case files. “You don’t rely simply on the electronic record,” he said. “You must check the docket.”

Judge Lynne Battaglia made a similar observation, while Judge Glenn Harrell Jr. wondered if the lawyers were “just lucky” that they didn’t have similar problems in other offices, according to the story.

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