Legal Ethics

Suing ex-client for $500K in divorce fees led to disbarment ruling for former bar president

A decision to sue a former client, who happened to be an attorney, for $500,000 in allegedly unpaid legal fees in a divorce case has led to a disbarment ruling against a former Virginia Bar Association president who was once considered one of the titans of the Washington, D.C., matrimonial bar.

An adverse result in the fee-dispute case was followed by further troubles for Glenn C. Lewis, who in his heydey charged $850 per billable hour for his services, reports the Washington Post (reg. req.).

On Friday, a Virginia State Bar disciplinary council ruled that Lewis should be disbarred for failing to fulfill legal obligations, mismanaging client funds and dishonesty, the newspaper says. However, he can appeal that ruling.

The $500,000 fee-dispute-suit Lewis filed in 2009 proved to be a loser for him in more ways than one. First, he wound up refunding to his former client a little over $100,000 of the $378,000 the man had paid for the divorce representation. Then the case snowballed into additional complaints, which were followed by financial troubles including a mortgage foreclosure and a bankruptcy, and the legal ethics case.

See also “Battle of the Titans: Divorce Lawyer’s Fee Suit Backfires in Bar Prez Battle”

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