Legal Ethics

Lawyer Is Reprimanded for Threatening Ethics Complaint

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An Indianapolis lawyer has received a public reprimand because she threatened to report an opposing lawyer to ethics authorities.

The lawyer, Julia E. Dimick, wrote a letter implying she would file a grievance unless the opposing lawyer made a settlement offer, according to stipulated facts in the Indiana Supreme Court order (PDF). The Legal Profession Blog notes the sanction.

Dimick made the implied threat while representing a woman in a potential claim against the lawyer over handling of settlement funds, the order says. Dimick’s letter had accused the other lawyer of a conflict of interest and other misconduct, and offered the lawyer a “window of opportunity” to resolve the case. Dimick wrote that if she did not hear from the lawyer within that time, she would file claims with the disciplinary commission and the state court.

Dimick was represented by Kevin McGoff of Bingham Greenebaum Doll. Asked if there were any lessons for lawyers in the case, he offered this: “My view is it always pays to carefully proofread and, if warranted, edit your letters and emails before hitting the ‘send’ button or dropping them in the letter box.”

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