On Friday, October 6, 2023, the Supreme Judicial Court of Suffolk County, Massachusetts, took disciplinary action against Attorney Kimberley A. McConnell, suspending her license to practice law for one year and one day. The court found that McConnell had abandoned her client and her law office.
The case is titled ‘In Re: Kimberly A. McConnell’ with case no. BD-2023-058.
The alleged charges against Attorney McConnell include violations of Rules 1.2(a), 1.3, 1.4(a), Rule 1.16(d), Rule 8.1(b), Rule 8.4(g) of the Massachusetts Rules on Professional Conduct and S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 3. which regulate conduct relating to:
Failure to consult with the client about means of achieving o objectives.
Failure to refund any advance fee not earned upon termination of representation.
Failure to respond to a lawful demand for information from disciplinary authority.
Failure, without good cause, to cooperate with bar counsel.
Violation of grounds for lawyer discipline.
The Massachusetts Rules on Professional Conduct can be found here.
This disciplinary matter stems from Attorney McConnell’s abandonment of a client and her law office and her failure to respond to the bar counsel’s Petition for Discipline or brief on disposition.
The Attorney McConnell, took on a divorce case in March 2020, receiving a $2,500 retainer fee. However, she subsequently disappeared, failing to respond to her client’s messages and abandoning her law office in July 2021. The client requested a refund, but Ms. McConnell did not respond. Furthermore, Attorney McConnell was administratively suspended on March 22, 2022, for failing to register with the Board.
The Bar Counsel made various attempts to contact Attorney McConnell at her business address and family’s address in New York State, but she did not respond. The Attorney McConnell received certified mail letters notifying her of the disciplinary proceedings, but she did not submit any responses.
On June 12, 2023, the Board of Bar Overseers recommended a year-and-a-day suspension, which was subsequently ordered by the Supreme Judicial Court. Accordingly, the suspension is effective immediately upon the entry of the order. Attorney McConnell’s reinstatement will be governed by S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 18 (2)(4)(5) and will only be granted after a hearing and compliance with the March 22, 2022 Order of Administrative Suspension.
Attorney McConnell is also ordered to fulfill certain obligations within 14 days of the date of entry of the order which includes filing a notice of withdrawal with every court or tribunal where a matter is pending; resigning from any appointments that she may have; notifying clients of her disqualification; informing all counsels in pending matters about the suspension; providing clients in pending matters with any papers or property to which they are entitled; refunding any fees paid in advance, closing of all IOLTA, client, trust, or other fiduciary accounts; and properly disbursing or transferring all client and fiduciary funds.
Within 21 days after the entry of the order, Attorney McConnell must also file an affidavit with the Office of the Bar Counsel, certifying full compliance with the provisions of the order and bar disciplinary rules. The affidavit must include various details and documentation, such as copies of notices, proof of fund distribution, bank account information, and other relevant information.
The disposition reads:
“It is ORDERED that: 1. Kimberley A. McConnell is hereby suspended from the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a period of one (1) year and one (1) day effective immediately upon the entry of this Order.”
According to Avvo.com, Attorney Kimberly A. McConnell practiced in Athol, Massachusetts prior to the suspension. She acquired her license in the state in 2000.
A copy of the Original filing can be found here.