VIRGINIA:

BEFORE THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLINARY BOARD

IN THE MATTER OF

SANG KUEN PARK

VSB DOCKET NO. 00-052-0251


ORDER OF SUSPENSION


This matter came before the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board for hearing on May 15, 2003. The hearing was held before a duly convened panel of the Board consisting of William C. Boyce, Jr., Peter A. Dingman, Ann N. Kathan, Werner H. Quasebarth, Lay Member, and John A. Dezio, Chair.

All required notices were sent by the Clerk of the Disciplinary System. The Virginia State Bar was represented by Noel D. Sengel, Senior Assistant Bar Counsel. Sang Kuen Park, the Respondent in this proceeding (the "Respondent"), appeared in person and was represented by Timothy J. Battle, Esquire. Donna T. Chandler with Chandler and Halasz, P.O. Box 9349, Richmond, Virginia 23227, (804) 730-1222, having been duly sworn, reported the hearing.

The Chair opened the hearing and the panel was then polled as to whether any member had any conflict of interest or other reason why the member should not participate in the hearing. Each member, including the Chair, answered in the negative.

The Prior Proceedings

This matter arises out of a complaint filed by Soon Jung Park, the Complainant herein (the "Complainant"), against the Respondent involving: (i) the Respondent's preparation of a will for the Complainant's husband Mr. Keun Young Jang, and the circumstances surrounding the execution and subsequent probate of that will; and (ii) the preparation of a visa application for the benefit of the Complainant. This matter was referred to the Board by a Subcommittee Determination (Certification) (the "Certification") issued by a duly convened subcommittee panel of the Fifth District Committee Section II. This matter is governed by the Disciplinary Rules of the revised Virginia Code of Professional Responsibility as they were in effect at the time the complaint was filed against the Respondent.

Misconduct

The Certification charged violations of the following provisions of the Disciplinary Rules:
DR 1-102. Misconduct.

(A) A lawyer shall not:

(3) Commit a crime or other deliberately wrongful act that
reflects adversely on the lawyer's fitness to practice law.

(4) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
misrepresentation which reflects adversely on a lawyer's fitness to practice law.

DR 6-101. Competence and Promptness.

(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 matters, or

(2) The lawyer has associated with another lawyer who is competent in those matters.

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.

A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about matters in which the lawyer's services are being rendered.

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 7-101. Representing a Client Zealously.

(A) A lawyer shall not intentionally:

(1) Fail to seek the lawful objectives of his client through reasonably available means permitted by law and the Disciplinary Rules, except as provided by DR 7-101(B). A lawyer does not violate this Disciplinary Rule, however, by acceding to reasonable requests of opposing counsel which do not prejudice the rights of his client, by being punctual in fulfilling all professional commitments, by avoiding offensive tactics, or by treating with courtesy and consideration all persons involved in the legal process.

(2) Fail to carry out a contract of employment entered into with a client for professional services, but he may withdraw as permitted under DR 2-108, DR 5-102, and DR 5-105.

(3) Prejudice or damage his client during the course of the professional relationship, except as required under DR 4-101(D).

DR 7-102. Representing a Client Within the Bounds of the Law.

(A) In his representation of a client, a lawyer shall not:

(3) Conceal or knowingly fail to disclose that which he is required by law to reveal.

(4) Knowingly use perjured testimony or false evidence.

(5) Knowingly make a false statement of law or fact.

(6) Participate in the creation or preservation of evidence when he knows or it is obvious that the evidence is false.

(8) Knowingly engage in other illegal conduct or conduct contrary to a Disciplinary Rule.

At the onset of the hearing the Bar withdrew the allegations of misconduct under DR 2-104 and DR 7-102(A)(2), as set forth in the Certification.
Disposition


After due deliberation, the Board unanimously made the following findings on the basis of clear and convincing evidence:
(i) the Bar has not furnished clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent engaged in conduct that violates Disciplinary Rule 1-102(A)(3);

(ii) the Bar has proven by clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent engaged in conduct that violates Disciplinary Rule 1-102(A)(4);

(iii) the Bar has proven by clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent engaged in conduct that violates Rules 6-101(A)(1) and 6-101(A)(2);

(iv) the Bar has not furnished clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent engaged in conduct that violates Disciplinary Rules 6-101(B), 6-101(C), or 6-101(D);

(v) the Bar has not furnished clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent engaged in conduct that violates Disciplinary Rules 7-101(A)(1), 7-101(A)(2), or 7-101(A)(3);

(vi) the Bar has not furnished clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent engaged in conduct that violates Disciplinary Rules 7-102(A)(3), 7-102(A)(4), 7-102(A)(5), or 7-102(A)(6); and

(vii) the charge raised by the Bar under Disciplinary Rule 7-102(A)(8) is redundant and, thus, unnecessary.


Sanction

Thereafter, the Board received further evidence of aggravation and mitigation from the Bar and Respondent's counsel, including the Respondent's prior disciplinary record. The Board recessed to deliberate what sanction to impose upon its findings of misconduct by the Respondent. After due deliberation, the Board reconvened to announce the sanction imposed. The Chair announced that the appropriate sanction is the suspension of the Respondent's license for six (6) months.

Accordingly, it is so ORDERED that the license of Sang Kuen Park to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia is hereby SUSPENDED FOR SIX (6) MONTHS effective May 15, 2003.

It is further ORDERED that the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall mail an attested copy of this order to the Respondent, by certified mail, return receipt requested, at his address of record with the Virginia State Bar, 7617 Little River Turnpike, Suite 930, Annandale, Virginia 22003 and to Timothy J. Battle, Esquire, P.O. Box 19631, Alexandria, Virginia 22320-9631, and shall mail a copy of this order by regular mail to Noel D. Sengel, Senior Assistant Bar Counsel, Virginia State Bar, 100 North Pitt Street, Suite 310, Virginia 22314-3133.

It is further ORDERED that the Respondent must comply with the requirements of Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13 M, of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia and shall forthwith give notice, by certified mail, of the suspension of his license to practice law in Virginia to all clients for whom he is currently handling matters and to all opposing attorneys and the presiding judges in pending litigation. The Respondent shall also make appropriate arrangements for the disposition of matters then in his care in conformity with the wishes of his clients. All issues concerning the adequacy of the notice and required arrangements shall be determined by the Board, which may impose a sanction of revocation or further suspension for failure to comply with the requirements of this provision.
It is further ORDERED that costs shall be assessed against the Respondent in accordance with the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13.B.8.c.

ENTERED this ____________________day of May, 2003

VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLINARY BOARD
_____________________________________
John A. Dezio, Chair