VIRGINIA:

BEFORE THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLINARY BOARD

 

IN THE MATTERS OF     )     VSB Docket Nos. 97-033-1757, 97-033-
CHARLES JEFFERSON McCALL     )     1987 and 01-033-1115


ORDER

These matters came before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on August 16, 2001, to be heard on an Agreed Disposition between the Virginia State Bar and the respondent Charles Jefferson McCall and his counsel James R. Wrenn, Jr. VSB Docket Nos. 97-033-1757 and 97-033-1987 arose from a show cause proceeding noticed for respondent's alleged failure to comply with terms imposed in connection with an Agreed Disposition the Disciplinary Board previously approved. A subcommittee of the Third District Committee, Section III, certified VSB Docket No. 01-033-1115 to the Disciplinary Board.


The Agreed Disposition was considered by a duly convened panel of the Disciplinary Board consisting of Werner H. Quasebarth, Bruce T. Clark, Roscoe B. Stephenson, III, Theophilise L. Twitty and William M. Moffet, presiding. The respondent did not appear but was represented by his counsel James R. Wrenn, Jr. The Virginia State Bar was represented by Bar Counsel Barbara Ann Williams.


Having considered the Agreed Disposition and the representations of counsel, the Disciplinary Board accepts the Agreed Disposition and finds by clear and convincing evidence as follows:


I. VSB Docket Nos. 97-033-1757 and 97-033-1987

A. Findings of Fact

 

1. From August 30, 1977, to the present, Charles Jefferson McCall has been an attorney licensed and in good standing to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

2. On March 6, 2000, based upon an agreed disposition in VSB Docket Nos. 97-033-1757 and 97-033-1987, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board imposed a Public Reprimand with Terms on Mr. McCall, with the alternate sanction of a Suspension of one year and one day to be imposed if he failed to comply with any of the terms.

3. Some of the terms imposed related to Mr. McCall's trust account records.

4. The terms relating to Mr. McCall's trust account records provided that Mr. McCall would retain a licensed Virginia certified public accountant to examine his trust account records from July 1, 1999 to date.

5. The terms relating to Mr. McCall's trust account records also provided that if the public accountant determined that Mr. McCall's trust account records did not comply with Disciplinary Rules 9-102 and 9-103 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, or Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, Mr. McCall would take the steps necessary to bring the records into compliance and, no later than June 30, 2000, deliver to Bar Counsel a written certification that he had done so.

6. The terms relating to Mr. McCall's trust account records further provided that Mr. McCall would be responsible for making certain that the licensed Virginia certified public accountant performed the required services and reported to Bar Counsel within specified time frames.

7. The certified public accountant that Mr. McCall retained could not allocate the sum of $3,640.41, contained in Mr. McCall's trust account, to any client for whom Mr. McCall had a subsidiary ledger.

8. The certified public accountant concluded that as of April 28, 2000, Mr. McCall's trust account records complied with DRs 9-102 and 9-103 of the Virginia Code of Professional Responsibility, and Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, except with respect to the $3,640.41, which the accountant classified as unallocated as of April 28, 2000.

9. The certified public accountant concluded that to achieve compliance with respect to the unallocated $3,640.41 would require further analysis following completion of certain guardianship accountings to be completed by Mr. McCall no later than June 30, 2000.

10. Mr. McCall did not take the steps necessary to bring his trust account records into compliance no later than June 30, 2000, as required by the terms imposed pursuant to the agreed disposition.

11. Mr. McCall did not produce a written certification by June 30, 2000, as required by the terms imposed, or offer Bar Counsel any explanation for his failure to bring his trust account records into compliance with the requirements of the applicable rules.


B. Finding of Non-Compliance with Terms
The Disciplinary Board finds that Mr. McCall failed to comply with the terms relating to his trust account records that the Disciplinary Board imposed pursuant to an agreed disposition in VSB Docket Nos. 97-033-1757 and 97-033-1987.

 

II. VSB Docket No. 01-033-1115


A. Findings of Fact


1. From August 30, 1977, when he was admitted to the Virginia State Bar, to the present, Mr. McCall has been an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

2. Mr. McCall qualified as the Administrator of the Estate of Marie Settle Price on October 13, 1998.

3. The first accounting was due on February 13, 2000; Mr. McCall did not file the accounting in a timely manner.

4. On February 15, 2000, the Commissioner of Accounts sent Mr. McCall a notice of
delinquency.

5. On March 14, 2000, the Commissioner of Accounts received the first accounting for the period of October 13, 1998 through September 9, 1999.

6. Mr. McCall subsequently submitted an unsigned, revised accounting.

7. The Commissioner of Accounts could not approve the accounting because it was unsigned and because Mr. McCall had failed to file an Affidavit of Notice of Probate.

8. The Commissioner of Accounts and others requested Mr. McCall to sign the revised accounting and file the requisite notice; Mr. McCall ignored their requests.

9. On or about November 28, 2000, the Commissioner of Accounts reported to the Virginia State Bar that Mr. McCall had failed to sign the revised accounting and file the Affidavit of Notice of Probate.

10. Mr. McCall was advised of the complaint by letter from Bar Counsel dated November 29, 2000; on December 8, 2000, Mr. McCall finally filed the Affidavit of Notice of Probate.

11. As of December 19, 2000, Mr. McCall had not signed the revised first accounting.


B. Findings of Misconduct
The Disciplinary Board finds that the respondent violated the following Rules of Professional Conduct:
RULE 1.3 Diligence

(a) A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

RULE 1.4 Communication
(a) A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.


** *

Upon consideration whereof, it is ORDERED that the respondent shall receive effective August 24, 2001, a Suspension of thirteen months and one day, with the alternate sanction of a hearing before the Disciplinary Board to determine the discipline to be imposed if the respondent fails to comply with any of the terms stated below. The respondent agreed to this suspension with terms and to the alternate sanction, if he does not comply with the terms. It is hereby ORDERED that the respondent shall comply with the following terms and conditions:

 

1. The respondent shall comply with the requirements of Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13.J.(2) of the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court governing reinstatement after suspension for more than one year.

2. Before applying for reinstatement, the respondent shall arrange for a Virginia State Bar Risk Manager, or another expert in law office management acceptable to the Virginia State Bar, to help him set up whatever record keeping system is appropriate for him to maintain his trust account records. The expert in law office management shall certify to Bar Counsel in writing that the respondent's trust account record keeping system complies with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

3. The respondent shall immediately petition the appropriate court to receive the $3,640.41 identified by Certified Public Accountant Sydney S. Wooding in his report dated May 15, 2000, and move the court to determine the appropriate disposition of those funds. Respondent shall diligently prosecute the petition. Respondent shall provide copies of the petition and proof of tendering the money to the Virginia State Bar within thirty days of the entry of this order.

4. Only upon satisfactory proof that the respondent has completed the thirteen month and one day suspension, fully complied with the terms of this Agreed Disposition and the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court, and Bar Counsel has received the written certification by the expert in law office management, shall the respondent be reinstated to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 

The respondent's failure to comply with any of the foregoing agreed terms will result in the Virginia State Bar issuing and serving upon the respondent a Show Cause Notice requiring the respondent to appear and show cause why he has not failed to comply with the terms imposed and why the Disciplinary Board should not impose harsher discipline. The issues at the show cause hearing shall be whether the respondent has violated any of the terms of this Agreed Disposition without legal justification or excuse and, if so, what additional sanction shall be imposed. The show cause hearing shall be conducted pursuant to Disciplinary Board Rule of Procedure IV(D)(11).


It is ORDERED pursuant to the provisions of Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13(K)(1) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, that the Respondent shall forthwith give notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, of his suspension to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia, to all clients for whom he is currently handling matters and to all opposing attorneys and presiding judges in pending litigation. The Attorney shall also make appropriate arrangements for the disposition of matters then in his care in conformity with the wishes of his client. The Attorney shall give such notice within fourteen (14) days of the effective date of the suspension order, and make such arrangements as are required herein within forty-five (45) days of the effective date of the suspension order. The Attorney shall furnish proof to the bar within sixty (60) days of the effective date of the suspension order that such notices have been timely given and such arrangement for the disposition of matters made. Issues concerning the adequacy of the notice and arrangements required herein shall be determined by the Disciplinary Board, which may impose a sanction of revocation or suspension for failure to comply with the requirements of this subparagraph.


It is further ORDERED that Charles Jefferson McCall shall furnish true copies of all of the notice letters sent to all persons notified of the suspension, with the original return receipts for said notice letters, to the Clerk of the Disciplinary System, on or before October 22, 2001.


The court reporter for this hearing on the Agreed Disposition was Donna Chandler of Chandler and Halasz Court Reporters, P.O. Box 9349, Richmond, Virginia 23227, (804) 730-1222.


Pursuant to Part Six, § IV, ¶ 13(K)(10) of the Rules of the Supreme Court, the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall assess costs.


It is ORDERED that a copy teste of this Order shall be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the respondent, at his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar,
sent by regular mail to Respondent's Counsel, James R. Wrenn, Jr., 13210 Michaux View Way, Midlothian, Virginia 23113, and hand delivered Bar Counsel Barbara Ann Williams, Virginia State Bar, 707 E. Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

Enter this Order this _____ day of ______________, 2001.

VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLINARY BOARD




By:____________________________________________
William M. Moffet, Chair