In response to yesterday’s follow-up post on the Arizona Supreme Court’s 6-month suspension of Jeffrey Phillips, Phoenix’s prolific T.V. commercial personal injury advertiser, comes news from a well-placed source in response.
According to this source, the reason Jeffrey Phillips is still advertising on T.V. is because his suspension won’t take effect until February 18, 2011. Turns out that despite opposition from the Arizona Bar, he requested and was granted an extension by the court.
Phillips maintained he needed additional time to get his new business plan in place even though the Bar argued he’d had plenty of notice and time to prepare for this eventuality and he failed to do so.
Under Rule 72. Notice to Clients, Adverse Parties and Other Counsel, 72(a) expressly states, “Within ten (10) days after the date of an order or judgment issued by the presiding disciplinary judge, a hearing panel, or the court imposing discipline or transfer to disability inactive status, or the date of resignation, a respondent suspended, disbarred, transferred to disability inactive status, or who has resigned, shall notify the following persons by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, of the order or judgment, and of the fact that the lawyer is disqualified to act as lawyer after the effective date of same:
1. all clients being represented in pending matters; and
2. any co-counsel in pending matters; and
3. any opposing counsel in pending matters, or in the absence of such counsel, the adverse parties; and
4. each court and division in which respondent has any pending matter, whether active or inactive.”
And under 72(e), within 10 days after the effective date of the suspension order, the lawyer is required to file an affidavit with the hearing panel and with the court.
Among various other requisites, the affidavit evidences compliance with the provisions of the order and with the rules, along with proof of service of a copy of the affidavit “upon bar counsel, the chief judge of every federal circuit court of appeals in which respondent is admitted, the chief judge and chief deputy clerk of every United States district court in which respondent is admitted, and the chief bankruptcy judge and the divisional manager of every bankruptcy court in which respondent is admitted.”
Writing at “Exploring the Unthinkable in Lawyer Discipline: Disbarment, Suspension and Reinstatement,” Arizona lawyer advocate J. Scott Rhodes says that because lawyers can find the compliance requirements “complex and onerous,” some of them even start winding down their practices – – – ahead of the court’s Order. He also notes that there’s an opportunity to do so during the time between the disciplinary commission’s recommendation and the court order for ‘just in case’ preparations.
Then again, some lawyers don’t worry about ‘just in case.‘ Instead they just ask for an extension and get it.