Is it permissible for an attorney to charge his clients for the time he spends defending himself from grievances that they file with the bar association? Apparently not in Georgia. In fact, it turns out to be grounds for disbarrment.
Bobby Glenn Adkins Jr. … agreed to prepare a trust for an elderly couple for $650. But two months later, Adkins invoiced the couple for an additional $40. When the couple’s son disputed the amount, ‘Adkins began sending threatening letters stating that he would sue the couple and seek to foreclose on their home, even though he later testified that he had no intention of taking either action,’ according to the court. After the son filed a grievance with the bar, Adkins sent more threatening letters, sued the son for defamation and sent the couple an invoice for $370, according to the [Georgia Supreme Court’s disciplinary decision]. ‘Although the invoice indicated the bill was for legal services, the additional charge was actually for Adkins’ time in responding to the bar complaint and in drafting the lawsuit against the couple’s son,’ the decision stated.
What can you say about Mr. Atkins? Obviously, he isn’t the sort of person who would benefit by attending a seminar on ethics.