Bad Lawyers

Lawyers Suspended for Illegally Poaching Clients and Stealing Confidential Data
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Two lawyers in Florida, Jonathon Charles Avery Blevins, and Michael Andrew Adams have been suspended from practicing law after they violated bar rules while leaving their personal injury law firm. According to reports, the Florida Supreme Court suspended Blevins for 60 days, while Adams was suspended for 45 days.

Blevins and Adams had both worked at Dan Newlin Injury Attorneys in Florida but formed their own firm and left the Dan Newlin firm in January 2021 without giving advance notice of their resignation, according to their conditional pleas for a consent judgment. It was during this process that they were accused of violating bar rules.

The lawyers were accused of making digital copies of confidential client data while still at the Dan Newlin firm. Additionally, they were accused of disabling a feature in the case management system that allowed the firm to mass email clients.

  
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After leaving the Dan Newlin firm, the lawyers contacted clients they hoped to take with them without first approaching the firm to negotiate a joint letter to the clients, as required by ethics rules. In their letter to clients, they advised them that they could remain clients of the Dan Newlin firm, choose representation by the new firm, or choose new representation by a different firm. However, as required by the ethics rules, they failed to inform clients about potential liability for fees and costs for legal services already provided and how deposits would be handled.

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The Florida Supreme Court found the actions of the two lawyers to be in violation of bar rules and suspended Blevins for 60 days and Adams for 45 days. Neither lawyer had a prior disciplinary history. Blevins was admitted to the bar in 2008, while Adams was admitted in 2011.

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According to the plea, Adams had provided “extraordinary community service” to veterans, children, and victims of abuse. He is a decorated U.S. Marine Corps veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his service in Iraq. According to his plea, his condition was exacerbated by stress while working at the Dan Newlin firm.

Blevins’ plea stated that he has provided “substantial community service.”



This case highlights the importance of upholding ethical standards in the legal industry. Lawyers have a responsibility to ensure that they comply with bar rules, particularly when handling confidential client data and contacting clients while leaving a law firm. Failure to do so can result in disciplinary action, as seen in the case of Blevins and Adams.

It is also important for law firms to have clear policies in place regarding the departure of lawyers and to ensure that these policies comply with ethics rules. By doing so, law firms can help to prevent unethical behavior and protect the interests of their clients.



 

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