On September 7, 2022, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County ordered the disbarment of a Massachusettes attorney Barry Wisner Chapin for intentional misuse of client and third-party funds with continuing deprivation, failure to cooperate with bar counsel’s investigation, and failure to participate in Bar Disciplinary Proceedings. 

The case is entitled “In the matter of Barry Wisner Chapin,” and was brought by the Board of Bar Overseers with Case #D-2019-077.

The charges cited rules of professional conduct 1.4(a)(3) and (4), 1.15A(b), 1.15(b), 1.15 (c), and 8.4(c) and (h), 3.4(c), 8.1(b), 8.4(d), (g) and (h) which states: 

Keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter.

Promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.

For purposes of this Rule, the client’s file consists of the following physical and electronically stored materials; correspondence relating to the matter, whether in physical or electronic form.

A lawyer must make the client’s file available to a client or former client within a reasonable time following the client’s or former client’s request for his or her file.

Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

Engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on his or her fitness to practice law.

A lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists.

In any action as defined in subdivision (a)(1) of this rule involving a debt as defined in (a)(3), the plaintiff shall file simultaneously with the complaint the affidavits, documentation, and certification provided for in subdivisions (c)-(f) of this rule. The affidavits, documentation, and certification shall be served on the defendant with the complaint.

Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Fail without good cause to cooperate with the Bar Counsel or the Board of Bar Overseers as provided in S.J.C. Rule 4:01, §.

Engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on his or her fitness to practice law.

The rules of professional conduct can be found here.

The following are as alleged and summarized from the filing:

The Respondent did not answer the two-count petition for discipline. The Board of Bar Overseers voted to recommend that the respondent be disbarred. On September 7, 2022, after notice and a hearing attended by Bar Counsel but not the respondent, the Court ordered the disbarment of the respondent, effective immediately.

The filing states:

‘In Count One, the petition for discipline charged that the respondent, on his client’s behalf, retained four international law firms to assist with foreign intellectual property matters. The foreign firms dealt directly with the respondent and submitted to him all invoices for services rendered to the client. The respondent, in turn, billed the client for these fees and collected them. He was supposed to remit the appropriate payments to the foreign firms but did not do so. During the relevant period, he collected and failed to disburse at least $48,824.87 in funds he had received from the client. Because the respondent absconded with the money intended for the international firms, both the client and the foreign firms experienced a loss.’

The filing continues:

“Count two describes the respondent’s failure to reply to Bar Counsel’s repeated efforts to contact him during the investigation of the foregoing matter, resulting in his administrative suspension as of September 23, 2019. As of the date of the petition for discipline, February 7, 2022, the respondent still had not complied with Bar Counsel’s requests for information and he had failed to comply with the S. J.C.’s Order.”

With the foregoing facts and violations, the court ruled for the disbarment of the Respondent. 

The Disposition states:

“Barry Wisner Chapin 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.”

Prior to the order, Mr. Chapin is listed on the website of the law firm Chapin Intellectual Property Law, LLC as a practicing attorney. He attended Suffolk University, graduating in 1997. Chapin practiced in Worcester County, Massachusettes. His info can be found on Linkedin

A copy of the original filing can be found here