V I R G I N I A :
BEFORE THE FIFTH DISTRICT--SECTION III SUBCOMMITTEE
OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR
IN THE MATTER OF
MARK THOMAS CROSSLAND, ESQ.
VSB Docket No. 99-053-2646
On May 10, 2002, a meeting in this matter was held before a duly convened Fifth District--Section III Subcommittee consisting of Gregory A. Porter, Esquire, Dr. Theodore Smith, and Joyce Ann N. Massey, Esquire, presiding.
Pursuant to Part 6, §IV, ¶13(B)(5) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Fifth District--Section III Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent the following Public Reprimand as set forth below:
I. FINDINGS OF FACT
1. At all times relevant hereto, Mark Thomas Crossland, Esq., (hereafter "Respondent"), has been an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
2. The Respondent was qualified as Administrator, c.t.a., of the Estate of Anna S. Dana, Deceased, by the Prince William County, Virginia, Circuit Court, on May 3, 1996.
3. On May 1, 1998, the Commissioner of Accounts for the said Court issued a Summons to the Respondent for his having failed to file the required annual accounting for the period extending between May 3, 1996, and May 3, 1997.
4. The Summons was personally served upon the Respondent on May 6, 1998. On September 4, 1998, the Respondent filed an accounting with the Commissioner of Accounts which was unapprovable.
5. In correspondence dated September 16, 1998, the Commissioner notified the Respondent of the corrections and additional information that were needed before the Commissioner could approve the accounting.
6. On January 25, 1999, the Commissioner's assistant met with a representative of Respondent's office and explained specifically how the accounting should be corrected. The Respondent's representative took the accounting with her and promised to have it filed within two weeks.
7. The accounting was not filed within the two weeks, as promised, and the Commissioner of Accounts directed correspondence to the Respondent on March 24, 1999, requesting that he file a proper accounting. As of April 30, 1999, when the Commissioner wrote to the Virginia State Bar concerning this matter, the Respondent had not filed an accounting. The Commissioner at that time caused a Show Cause Order to be issued, returnable to June 4, 1999.
8. The investigation conducted by the Virginia State Bar revealed that a proper accounting was ultimately filed, not by the Respondent, but by an out-of-state resident who had qualified as Executrix. The investigation also revealed that no heir of the Estate suffered harm on account of Respondent's conduct, that the Respondent did not receive any commission from the Estate, and that the Respondent agreed to pay late filing fees of $237.00.
II. NATURE OF MISCONDUCT
The Subcommittee finds that the following Disciplinary Rules have been violated:
DR 3-104. Nonlawyer Personnel.
(C) A lawyer or law firm that employs
nonlawyer personnel shall exercise a high standard of care to assure compliance
by the nonlawyer personnel with the applicable provisions of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. The initial and the continuing relationship with the client
must be the responsibility of the employing attorney.
(D) The delegated work of nonlawyer personnel shall be such that it will assist only the employing attorney and will be merged into the lawyer's completed product. The lawyer shall examine and be responsible for all work delegated to nonlawyer personnel.
DR 6-101. Competence and
(A) A lawyer shall undertake representation
only in matters in which:
(1) The lawyer can act with competence
and demonstrate the specific legal knowledge, skill, efficiency, and thoroughness
in preparation employed in acceptable practice by lawyers undertaking similar
(2) The lawyer has associated with
another lawyer who is competent in those matters.
(B) A lawyer shall attend promptly
to matters undertaken for a client until completed or until the lawyer has properly
and completely withdrawn from representing the client.
(C) A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about matters in which the lawyer's services are being rendered.
III. PUBLIC REPRIMAND
Accordingly, it is the decision of the Subcommittee to impose a PUBLIC REPRIMAND on Respondent, Mark Thomas Crossland, Esquire, and he is so reprimanded.
FIFTH DISTRICT - SECTION III SUBCOMMITTEE
OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I certify that I have this 13th day of May, 2002, mailed a true and correct copy of the Subcommittee Determination (PUBLIC REPRIMAND) by CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, to the Respondent, Mark Thomas Crossland, Esq.,
12620 Lake Ridge Drive, Woodbridge, Virginia 22192, his address of record with the Virginia State Bar, and a copy thereof by first class mail, postage prepaid, to Seth M. Guggenheim, Assistant Bar Counsel, at 100 North Pitt Street, Suite 310, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-3133.