VIRGINIA:


BEFORE THE FIFTH DISTRICT SECTION II SUBCOMMITTEE

OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR


IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT MICHAEL SHORT, ESQUIRE

VSB Docket No. 02-051-3215



AGREED DISPOSITION


Pursuant to Part Six, §IV, ¶13(G)(1)(c) of the Rules of Virginia Supreme Court, the Virginia State Bar, by Senior Assistant Bar Counsel Noel D. Sengel, and the Respondent, Robert Michael Short, Esq., hereby enter into an Agreed Disposition arising out of the above-referenced matter.

Both parties affirm that the proposed Subcommittee Determination of a Public Reprimand with Terms, a true copy of which is attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference, reflects the stipulated facts, violations, and disposition for the above-referenced matter.

Respondent understands that should the Subcommittee accept this agreed disposition by unanimous vote, the Subcommittee Determination will be signed by the Chair or Chair Designate and thereafter mailed without the necessity of any hearing or further notice to the parties. Further, it is understood and agreed by the parties hereto that should the Subcommittee refuse the agreed disposition neither party shall be bound by the stipulations or findings contained herein and this matter shall be forthwith scheduled for a hearing by the full Committee.




SEEN AND AGREED TO:

THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR



________________________

Noel D. Sengel

Assistant Bar Counsel






________________________

Robert Michael Short

Respondent




SUBCOMMITTEE ACTION


Pursuant to Part Six, §IV, ¶13(G)(1)(c) of the Rules of Virginia Supreme Court, the duly convened subcommittee of the Fifth District Committee Section II of the Virginia State Bar hereby accepts the Agreed Disposition in this matter.



Date: __________ _________________________________



Date: __________ _________________________________



Date: __________ _________________________________



VIRGINIA:



BEFORE THE FIFTH DISTRICT SECTION II SUBCOMMITTEE

OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR



IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT MICHAEL SHORT, ESQUIRE

VSB Docket No. 02-052-3125



SUBCOMMITTEE DETERMINATION

PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS



On the 29th day of January, 2003, a meeting in this matter was held before a duly convened a subcommittee of the Fifth District Committee Section II consisting of Daniel M. Rathbun, Esq., William V. Hanson, and Donald F. King, Esq., presiding.

Pursuant to Part 6, §IV, ¶13(G)(1)(c) of the Rules of Virginia Supreme Court, a subcommittee of the Fifth District Committee Section II of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent the following Public Reprimand with Terms:

I. FINDINGS OF FACT


1. At all times relevant hereto the Respondent, Robert Michael Short, Esq. (hereinafter the Respondent), has been an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

2. In January of 1999, the Complainant, Jolika Lewis, was involved in an automobile accident in which she sustained injuries. In June of 2000, she hired the Respondent to represent her in a claim for damages.

3. On July 5, 2000, the Respondent filed a Warrant in Debt in the General District Court of Fairfax County with a first return date of August 24, 2000. At the first return date, the Court ordered the plaintiff to file a Bill of Particulars by September 15, 2000. The Respondent failed to file a Bill of Particulars. On September 21, 2000, having received no Bill of Particulars and having had no other contact with the Respondent, counsel for the defendant noticed a motion for summary judgment to be heard on October 3, 2000. On October 3, 2000, the Respondent failed to appear and the Court granted the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. The Respondent did not tell Ms. Lewis that he failed to file a Bill of Particulars and to appear at the October 3, 2000 hearing, but he did appeal the judgment to the Circuit Court. Ms. Lewis only learned her case was before the Circuit Court when she appeared on November 14, 2000 for her previously-scheduled trial date in General District Court.

4. On December 1, 2000, defense counsel filed a Request for Production of Documents and Interrogatories. No responses were filed within twenty-one days, and by letter dated December 27, 2000, the defense counsel informed the Respondent that she would file a Motion to Compel if she got no response from the Respondent. Against Ms. Lewis' wishes, the Respondent filed a motion to non-suit her case. On January 19, 2001, the Court entered the Respondent's order.

II. NATURE OF MISCONDUCT

The Subcommittee finds that the following Disciplinary Rules have been violated:


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.

(b) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

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

III. PUBLIC REPRIMAND WITH TERMS

Accordingly, it is the decision of the Subcommittee to offer the Respondent an opportunity to comply with certain terms and conditions, compliance with which by May 1, 2003, shall be a predicate for the disposition of this complaint by imposition of a Public Reprimand with Terms. The terms and conditions which shall be met by May 1, 2003 are:

1. The Respondent shall institute and maintain a docket control system which shall ensure that he reviews the status of all pending matters periodically, and remind him in advance of key deadlines and other obligations. The Respondent shall institute and maintain a written office policy relating to regular and informative client communication. This policy shall include provisions for providing the client with written copies of all documentation relating to the representation, engaging in regular meetings either in person or by telephone to discuss the progress of the case and to answer client inquiries. Both the docket control system and the communication policy shall be implemented immediately. The Respondent shall provide the assistant bar counsel handling this matter with a detailed written description of both the docket control system and communication policy, and shall certify in writing under oath that he is using such systems in his office.

2. The Respondent shall complete four (4) hours of continuing legal education in the areas of ethics or law office management. His Continuing Legal Education attendance obligation set forth in this paragraph shall not be applied toward his Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirement in Virginia or any other jurisdictions in which he may be licensed to practice law. He shall certify his compliance with the terms set forth in this paragraph by delivering a fully and properly executed Virginia MCLE Board Certification of Attendance Forms (Form 2) to Noel D. Sengel, Senior Assistant Bar Counsel, at 100 North Pitt Street, Suite 310, Alexandria, VA 22314, promptly following his attendance of such CLE program(s).

Upon satisfactory proof that the above noted terms and conditions have been met, a Public Reprimand with Terms shall then be imposed. If, however, the terms and conditions have not been met by May 1, 2003, this matter shall be certified to the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board upon an agreed stipulation of facts as the facts are set forth herein for the sole purpose of imposition of a sanction deemed appropriate by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board.

FIFTH DISTRICT SECTION II SUBCOMMITTEE

OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR



By __________________________________

Donald Francis King





CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE



I certify that I have this _____ day of ________________________________, 2003, mailed a true and correct copy of the Subcommittee Determination (Public Reprimand with Terms) by CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, to the Respondent, Robert Michael Short, Esq., at 2567 Chain Bridge Rd., Vienna, VA 22181, his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar, and by hand delivery to Noel D. Sengel, Esq., Senior Assistant Bar Counsel, at 100 North Pitt Street, Suite 310, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-3133.



_______________________________________

Noel D. Sengel