VIRGINIA:

BEFORE THE EIGHTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE
OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR

IN THE MATTER OF

MAC ANDRES CHAMBERS

VSB Docket No. 00-080-0491


DISTRICT COMMITTEE DETERMINATION
(PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS)

On June 26, 2001, a hearing in this matter was held before a duly convened Eighth District Committee panel consisting of H. David Natkin, Esquire, N. Douglas Noland, Jr., Esquire, Martin Lightsey, Lay Member, Charles F. Kurtz, Lay Member, and P. Brent Brown, Esquire, Chair, presiding.
The Respondent appeared in person with his counsel, William H. Lindsey, Esquire. Edward L. Davis, Assistant Bar Counsel, appeared for the Virginia State Bar.
Pursuant to Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13(B)(7) of the Rules of the Supreme Court, the Eighth District Committee of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent the following Public Reprimand with Terms:
I. FINDINGS OF FACT:

1. During all times relevant hereto, the Respondent, Mac Andres Chambers, (hereinafter Respondent or Mr. Chambers) was an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

2. On July 1, 1998, Mr. Chambers served as settlement agent for a real estate closing involving the sale of property belonging to Billie A. Golding and Janis R. Golding, sellers. The net proceeds to the sellers from the sale were $12,538.75. At the time, Mr. and Mrs. Golding were estranged.

3. At approximately 2:00 P.M. on July 1, 1998, Mr. Chambers conducted the closing, although only Mr. Golding was present. Mrs. Golding endorsed the settlement documents later that evening at approximately 7:30 P.M. Initially, Mrs. Golding advised Mr. Chambers that she would refuse to endorse the documents. According to Mrs. Golding, she endorsed the documents later that evening only upon Mr. Chambers' assurance that she would receive one half of the sales proceeds. Mr. Chambers, however, issued the entire sales proceeds to Mr. Golding the next day. According to Mr. Golding, Mr. Chambers prepared the check payable to Golding Appraisal Company only. Concerned that this would be taxed to his company, Mr. Golding asked Mr. Chambers to add the following language to the payee line, "BILLIE GOLDING T/A," so that he could deposit the funds into his own account. Mr. Chambers did not seek the consent of Mrs. Golding before doing this.

4. Mr. Chambers explained to the Virginia State Bar that he issued the check to Mr. Golding and his business at Mr. Golding's request. He stated further that Mr. Golding asked him to do this as he was leaving the office following the closing, and that Mrs. Golding did not object. Both Mr. and Mrs. Golding, however, testified that they did not appear at the closing together, but that they appeared at separate times, Mr. Golding in the afternoon at about 2:00 P.M., and Mrs. Golding in the evening at about 7:30 P.M.

5. Thereafter, according to Mrs. Golding, she repeatedly tried to contact Mr. Chambers to inquire about her check and went to his office three or four times, but was never able to speak with Mr. Chambers. She said that his secretary repeatedly advised her that her check had been mailed to her, and that she could not have a copy, because Mr. Chambers had taken the file home.

6. Thereafter, on or before July 31, 1998, Mr. Chambers prepared a settlement agreement on behalf of Mr. Golding. The agreement provided, in pertinent part, for Mrs. Golding to relinquish her rights to various monies and claims held by Mr. Golding, including her interest in the July 1, 1998 sale of the aforementioned property. The agreement, which Mrs. Golding refused to sign, provided that the sale in question resulted in a loss of approximately $15,000 (fifteen thousand dollars). The settlement statement that Mr. Chambers previously prepared in his fiduciary capacity, however, clearly showed net proceeds to the Goldings of over $12,000 (twelve thousand dollars), which Mr. Chambers paid directly to Mr. Golding.

II. MISCONDUCT


The Committee finds that Mr. Chambers violated the following Disciplinary Rules:

DR 5-101.
Refusing Employment When the Interests of the Lawyer May Impair His Independent Professional Judgment.

(A) A lawyer shall not accept employment if the exercise of his professional judgment on behalf of his client may be affected by his own financial, business, property, or personal interests, except with the consent of his client after full and adequate disclosure under the circumstances.

DR 5-105. Refusing to Accept or Continue Employment if the Interests of Another Client May Impair the Independent Professional Judgment of the Lawyer.
(D) A lawyer who has represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter represent another person in the same or substantially related matter if the interest of that person is adverse in any material respect to the interest of the former client unless the former client consents after disclosure.

DR 6-101. Competence and Promptness

(D) A lawyer shall inform his client of facts pertinent to the matter and of communications from another party that may significantly affect settlement or resolution of the matter.

DR 9-102. Preserving Identity of Funds and Property of a Client.

(B) A lawyer shall:

(4) Promptly pay or deliver to the client or another as requested by such person the funds, securities, or other properties in the possession of the lawyer which such person is entitled to receive.
The Committee finds that as a matter of law, the bar did not prove violations of the following Disciplinary Rules, and they are dismissed in accordance with Council Rule of Disciplinary Procedure V(A)(4)(f)(1)(a): DR 5-105 (A), (B), and (C), and DR 6-101 (B) and (C). The Committee finds further that the bar did not prove a violation of DR 1-102(A)(4) under the clear and convincing evidentiary standard, and it is dismissed accordingly under Council rule of Disciplinary Procedure V(A)(4)(f)(1)(b)(iii). Finally, the bar having withdrawn the violations of DR 9-102(B)(1), (2), and (3), those charges are dismissed accordingly.

(Following the announcement of the Committee's findings, Mr. Martin Lightsey announced that he had to leave because of a prior commitment. He was released accordingly, and, with the consent of the Respondent and his counsel, the Committee received evidence and argument in aggravation and mitigation, and retired to deliberate on the issue of sanction without Mr. Lightsey participating.)

III. PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS
Upon consideration of the evidence and matters in aggravation and mitigation, especially the fact that the Respondent does not have a prior disciplinary record, it is the decision of the Committee to offer the Respondent an opportunity to comply with certain terms and conditions, compliance with which will be a predicate for the disposition of a Public Reprimand with Terms of this Complaint. The terms and conditions shall be met by the times set forth below.
1. Within six (6) weeks of today's hearing, or August 7, 2001, the Respondent shall engage at his own expense a malpractice risk manager approved by the Virginia State Bar to perform an audit of his office.

2. The Respondent will ensure that the risk manager furnishes a report of his or her findings and recommendations to the Virginia State Bar within ninety (90) days of his hiring of the risk manager, in no event later than November 5, 2001.

3. The Respondent will comply with all of the risk manager's recommendations.

4. The Respondent will ensure that the risk manager furnishes a follow-up report to the Virginia State Bar within six (6) months thereafter, in no event later than May 5, 2002, indicating whether he has followed the risk manager's recommendations.

5. The Respondent will ensure that the risk manager sends a second follow-up report within one (1) year thereafter, in no event later than May 5, 2003, indicating whether he has followed the risk manager's recommendations.

6. The Respondent will continue counseling as recommended by Susan D. Pauley, Program Director, LHL, and execute all appropriate releases to ensure that the bar can monitor his progress in the counseling. The Respondent will continue with the counseling for a period of eighteen (18) months unless released by the counselor sooner.


Upon satisfactory proof that such terms and conditions have been met, this matter shall be closed. If, however, the terms and conditions are not met by the dates specified above, this Committee shall certify the matter for hearing before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board.
Pursuant to Part Six, Section IV, (13)(K)(10), the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs.

EIGHTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE
OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR



By____________________________
P. Brent Brown, Chair


CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I certify that I have this __________day of ___________, _________ caused to be mailed by CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, a true and correct copy of the District Committee Determination (Public Reprimand with Terms) to Mac Andres Chambers, Esquire, at 618 Colorado Street, Salem, Virginia 24153, his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar, and to his counsel, William H. Lindsey, Esquire, at 103 South College Avenue, Post Office Box 958, Salem, Virginia 24153, his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar.

_________________________________
Edward L. Davis, Assistant Bar Counsel