On Thursday, November 16, 2023, the Attorney Discipline Board of Michigan disbarred attorney James J. Kiebel for professional misconduct related to his representation of three separate clients.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of James J. Kiebel,” with case no. 23-10-GA.

The charges cited Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1(c), 1.3, 1.4(a)(b),  1.16(b)(d), 4.1, 8.1(a)(1), 8.1(a)(2) 8.4(b)(c), and Michigan Court Rules 9.104(1)-(3) and 9.104(6).

Failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness.

Failed to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and to comply promptly with reasonable requests for information.

Failed to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

Failed to seek permission from the tribunal to withdraw from representation.

Upon termination of representation, failed to refund any advanced payment of a fee that had not been earned.

In the course of representing a client, knowingly made a false statement of material fact or law to a third person.

Knowingly made a false statement of material fact in connection with a disciplinary matter.

Knowingly failed to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

According to the filing, Mr. Kiebel defaulted on formal complaints brought by the Grievance Administrator regarding his handling of a divorce case, a driver’s license restoration matter, and a custody dispute. In all three cases, Mr. Kiebel was found to have neglected the legal matters, failed to act with diligence, and kept clients reasonably informed.

Additionally, the filing states that Mr. Kiebel failed to properly withdraw from representation, did not refund unearned fees, and knowingly made false statements to third parties and during disciplinary proceedings. He also failed to cooperate with a lawful demand for information from disciplinary authorities.

As a result of these violations and Mr. Kiebel’s default, Hearing Panel #3 of the Kent County Attorney Discipline Board ordered the disbarment of Mr. Kiebe. The panel further mandated Mr. Kiebel pay $6,050 in total restitution to compensate former clients and assessed an additional $2,653.20 in costs.

According to avvo.com, Mr. Kiebel practiced as a personal injury attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan before his disbarment. He attended the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, graduating in 2011. He acquired his law license in Michigan in 2012.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.