Portsmouth lawyer punished for mishandling client funds

PORTSMOUTH — Local attorney Richard Foley’s law license was suspended for six months by the Supreme Court’s Professional Conduct Committee, which placed the suspension in abeyance for a year, providing Foley adheres to a list of conditions.
According to PCC records, the suspension of Foley’s law license is related to his mishandling of funds he received from a client he was representing in a divorce case between 2009 and 2012. During the pendency of that case, Foley commingled his client’s funds with his own, failed to keep his client “reasonably informed,” spent his client’s money before earning it, and falsely reported that he was in compliance with financial rules, according to the PCC order.
Further, the PCC reports, Foley failed to perform “monthly reconciliations of any of his client trust accounts” between June 1, 2007 and May 31, 2012.
“Mr. Foley’s breaches were fundamental, evincing a lack of understanding of even the basics of law office accounting procedures,” the PCC order states.
“There was no written fee agreement with the complainant regarding his representation in the matter; only an oral agreement to represent her at $200 per hour,” according to the PCC. “At no time during the pendency of the divorce proceedings did Mr. Foley provide the complainant with an accounting of his time spent on her matter. The initial retainer check was not deposited into Mr. Foley’s client trust account.”
Foley also told his client that his fees for an appeal of the divorce case would be a flat fee and not hours-based, and never communicated the actual amount of the flat fee, the PCC found.
According to the PCC order, Foley agreed to pay all costs associated with an investigation into the matter, as well as to provide all future clients with written fee agreements, to track time spent on clients’ cases, and to complete 6 hours of training “regarding how to properly handle his client trust account.”
Foley is also ordered to hire a certified public accountant and for a year and to provide the Attorney Discipline Office with monthly client trust account reconciliations.

Full Article and Source:
Portsmouth lawyer punished for mishandling client funds


One Response to “Portsmouth lawyer punished for mishandling client funds”

  1. Owen Says:

    I have seen many of these type stories on this Blog. How do they get away with it for so long?

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