Attorney Disbarred for 'Closing' Firm Files for Future Solo Clients
Gregory Raymond Keiner was an ambitious personal injury attorney from Maryland.
But, his ambition caught up with him. He is now disbarred after engaging less-than-ethical behavior.
Keiner was an associate at the Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg, where he earned a high $268,700 salary, reports the ABA Journal. However, it seemed that Keiner wanted to set up his own personal injury shop. And, he wanted to do it with clients from his current office.
Keiner, whose practice was focused on lead paint cases, allegedly started altering documents in an effort to make it seem like certain clients didn't have much of a case.
Keiner doctored documents for blood test results that indicated that certain clients did not test positive for lead when they really did. He also put in letters of termination to make the files seem "closed" to other associates at the firm, the ABA Journal.
All of this was done so that he could file complaints for these clients when he set up his own law office, reports the ABA Journal.
But in doing so, Keiner violated the law and the rules of professional conduct, the court ruled.
A Maryland appeals court, in a 4-3 decision, voted to disbar the young attorney.
How can law firms avoid these types of situations? It might be difficult, especially when firms often have to give associates the appropriate discretion to work client files.
And, it's definitely possible that many associates are like Gregory Raymond Keiner: they're hoping to open up their own solo shop one day. But, if your "exit strategy" involves fraud, deceit, and poaching clients, you may just be disbarred.
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