VIRGINIA:

BEFORE THE SECOND DISTRICT - SECTION I SUBCOMMITTEE
OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR

 

IN THE MATTER OF

DWAYNE BERNARD STROTHERS

VSB DOCKET NO. 02-021-3261 (Tillery)



SUBCOMMITTEE DETERMINATION
(Public Reprimand)

On April 30, 2003, a meeting in this matter was held before a duly convened Subcommittee of the Second District Committee - Section I, consisting of Afshin Farashahi, Esquire, Mr. Kurt Rosenbach (Lay Member), and Croxton Gordon, Esquire, Chair presiding. Pursuant to an Agreed Disposition of the parties and Part 6, Section IV, ¶13G1c.(3) of the Virginia Supreme Court Rules of Court, the Second District - Section I Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar hereby serves upon the Respondent, Dwayne Bernard Strothers, the following Public Reprimand:

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

1. On or about April 3, 2002, Respondent was appointed by the Suffolk Circuit Court as counsel for Kenard Tillery. Following Tillery's conviction, Respondent was reappointed for the appeal of the conviction.

2. After advising Tillery on or about July 6, 2000 of the filing of the Notice of Appeal, Respondent failed thereafter to keep Tillery advised of the course of the appeal before the Court of Appeals and before the Virginia Supreme Court.

3. Following the denial of the appeal on March 14, 2001, Respondent filed a Petition for Rehearing, which the Court of Appeals denied on May 30, 2001.

II. NATURE OF MISCONDUCT


The Subcommittee finds that such conduct on the part of Respondent constitutes misconduct in violation of the following Rules of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct :

RULE 1.1 Competence

A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

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.

RULE 1.16 Declining Or Terminating Representation

(e) All original, client-furnished documents and any originals of legal instruments or official documents which are in the lawyer's possession (wills, corporate minutes, etc.) are the property of the client and shall be returned to the client upon request, whether or not the client has paid the fees and costs owed the lawyer. If the lawyer wants to keep a copy of such original documents, the lawyer must incur the cost of duplication. Upon request, the client must also be provided copies of the following documents from the lawyer's file, whether or not the client has paid the fees and costs owed the lawyer: lawyer/client and lawyer/third-party communications; the lawyer's copies of client-furnished documents (unless the originals have been returned to the client pursuant to this paragraph); pleadings and discovery responses; working and final drafts of legal instruments, official documents, investigative reports, legal memoranda, and other attorney work product documents prepared for the client in the course of the representation; research materials; and bills previously submitted to the client. Although the lawyer may bill and seek to collect from the client the costs associated with making a copy of these materials, the lawyer may not use the client's refusal to pay for such materials as a basis to refuse the client's request. The lawyer, however, is not required under this Rule to provide the client copies of billing records and documents intended only for internal use, such as memoranda prepared by the lawyer discussing conflicts of interest, staffing considerations, or difficulties arising from the lawyer/client relationship.




III. PUBLIC REPRIMAND


Accordingly, pursuant to the Agreed Disposition entered into between Respondent and Assistant Bar Counsel, it is the decision of the Subcommittee to impose a Public Reprimand on Respondent, Dwayne Bernard Strothers, and he is so reprimanded.

The Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall impose an administrative fee.


SECOND DISTRICT - SECTION I SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR By:
Croxton Gordon
Subcommittee Chair























CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE




I certify that I have this ______day of , 2003, mailed by CERTIFIED MAIL - RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, a true and correct copy of the executed Subcommittee Determination (Public Reprimand) to the Respondent, Dwayne Bernard Strothers, at The Law Offices, P.O. Box 3540, Suffolk, Virginia 23439-3540, his last address of record with the Virginia State Bar.

Paul D. Georgiadis Assistant Bar Counsel