On Friday, June 23, 2023,  a Montgomery County lawyer, Hugh Reid Poland, III, an attorney licensed to practice law in Tennessee, received a Public Censure from the Supreme Court of Tennessee for failing to draft the documents as agreed upon by the parties during mediation and for allowing the filing of such documents with wrong information about his client.  The respondent was likewise ordered to pay the costs and fees of the Board of Professional Responsibility.

The charge cited Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 8.4(c) and 8.4(d). Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

Mr. Poland was specifically required by his client to make the draft for the parenting, child support, and visitation arrangement as agreed on in mediation. But after several attempts of the opposing counsel to contact Mr. Poland and even after the Motion to Enforce the Mediation was filed, the respondent failed to do as he was required. Eventually, the opposing counsel filed the documents but with inaccurate information about Mr. Poland’s client which nonetheless, the respondent approved. Not only did Mr. Poland allow the wrong information but he also approved the filing without his client’s prior approval.  And finally, as a clincher, Mr. Poland made several written misrepresentations to his client that he would address her concerns which the respondent again failed to do until he eventually stopped communicating with his client.  On compunction, Mr. Poland has acknowledged his conduct violations in a conditional guilty plea he had executed.

The information states:

“Opposing counsel ultimately filed the required documents, which included inaccurate statements about Mr. Poland’s client, and Mr. Poland approved the same for filing without notifying his client or obtaining her approval. Finally, Mr. Poland made several misrepresentations to his client, in writing, that he would take specific actions to address her concerns; however, Mr. Poland took no further action and ultimately stopped responding to his client’s communications and requests for information. Mr. Poland executed a conditional guilty plea acknowledging his conduct violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 (diligence), 1.4(communication), 8.4(c) (misrepresentation), and 8.4(d) (prejudice to the administration of justice).”

The disposition reads:

“A public censure is a rebuke and warning to the attorney but does not affect the attorney’s ability to practice law.

Mr. Hugh Reid Poland attained his law degree from Nashville School of Law, graduating in 1987.

A copy of the original filing can be found here