Legal Ethics

Lawyer Suspended for Failing to E-File

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A Topeka, Kan., lawyer has been suspended for three months, partly because he ignored a bankruptcy court’s warning that he needed to file his cases electronically.

The Kansas Supreme Court held that the lawyer, Stephen D. Harris, violated his duty to represent his clients with competence, diligence and promptness. The court ordered a suspension because of the e-filing problem as well as a second complaint that he mishandled a civil case, Legal Blog Watch reports.

New rules took effect in September 2004 requiring all bankruptcy pleadings to be filed electronically. But the lawyer didn’t comply and tried to file a case the old-fashioned way four months later, Legal Blog Watch reports, citing a report on the Legal Profession Blog.

The bankruptcy court ordered the lawyer to obtain training and a login for electronic filing in the next 30 days, but he didn’t comply, the Kansas Supreme Court said in its March 28 opinion. Instead he tried to file a second case by paper pleadings and received yet another warning. A third client who was unhappy with the lawyer’s failure to e-file for him filed a disciplinary complaint. Harris did not return the complaining client’s $800 advance fee, the court said.

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