On Tuesday, December 20, 2022, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the disbarment of Attleboro attorney Gail A. Balser.
The case is entitled “In the matter of Gail A. Balser” with case no. BD-2022-077.
The charges cited Rules of Professional Conduct Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.5(a), 1.15(b), 1.15(d)(1) and (2), 1.15(O()C), 1.16(d) and (c), and 8.4(c)(h), 3.4(c), 8.1(b), and 8.4(g) and Supreme Judicial Court Rule S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § (3)( 1)(b).
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The respondent allegedly in two counts violated the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct by intentionally misusing multiple client funds with continuing deprivation and failure to cooperate with the bar’s investigation.
The filing states:
“As charged in Count One, in early 2015, the respondent began soliciting individuals to join a multi-plaintiff lawsuit against Texas Instruments, Inc. for injuries sustained as a result of exposure to radioactive materials and other toxic substances. In October 2015, the respondent was retained to represent the estate of an individual’s deceased father in such a lawsuit. Although the client signed a contingent fee agreement, the client was required to pay S2,850 up front for the respondent to review the decedent’s medical records as well as a $12,000 retainer “as partial payment for the Attorney Fees, Costs and Expenses to be incurred.” Within a few weeks of depositing these funds into her IOLTA account, the respondent withdrew them as cash or as checks made payable to her mother’s real estate company. The respondent used the funds for her own personal and/or business purposes. These funds were not earned by the respondent and were never returned to the client.
The filing continues:
“Count Two charged similar conduct with regard to another family seeking to have the respondent represent the estate of their deceased family member against Texas Instruments, Inc. The family retained the respondent in late October 2015. Pursuant to the fee agreement, the family was to pay the respondent $4,850 to review the decedent’s medical records and an S12,000 retainer to be used as described in Count One above. Ultimately, the family paid the respondent S16,000 in early November 2015. In less than a month, the respondent had once again withdrawn the funds by checks payable to her mother’s real estate company. The respondent used the funds for her own personal and/or business purposes. These funds were not earned by the respondent and were never returned to the client. “
In aggravation, the respondent was previously suspended for a four-year term for multiple instances of misconduct involving three different sets of clients. The S.J.C. twice found the respondent in contempt of that suspension order and extended her suspension. The second contempt finding was based on the respondent’s unauthorized practice of law while suspended. In addition, the respondent failed to make restitution to her clients, failed to cooperate in the instant disciplinary proceedings, had substantial experience in the practice of law, and engaged in multiple disciplinary violations. With all the foregoing facts and analysis of the court, they sanctioned the respondent with disbarment.
The Disposition states:
“Upon consideration thereof, it is ORDERED and ADJUDGED that: Gail A. Balser is hereby disbarred from the practice of law in the Commonwealth effective immediately upon the entry of this Judgment, and the lawyer’s name is forthwith stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.”
As of today, Ms. Balser is listed on the website of the law firm Law Office of Gail Balser as a practicing attorney. Her info can be found on lawyer.com. Balser practices in Attleboro, Massachusetts. She is licensed in Massachusetts.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.