On Wednesday, July 12, 2023, the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct Panel D reprimanded attorney Cecily Patterson Skarda for failure to confirm the filing of an extension order, resulting in the client’s missed opportunity to appeal.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Cecily Patterson Skarda,” with case no. 2023-004.
The charges cited Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a)(3), and 1..16(d) which states:
A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.
A lawyer shall keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter.
Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client’s interests, such as giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refunding any advance payment of a fee or that has not been earned or incurred.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct has found that attorney Skarda violated multiple rules of professional conduct in a case involving a missed appeal deadline. Allegedly, Skarda had failed to confirm the filing of an extension order, resulting in the client’s missed opportunity to appeal, and also neglected to inform the client of the appeal dismissal. Additionally, the respondent had not returned the $10,000 fee paid by the client for appellate services that were not provided. The violations included failure to provide competent representation, failure to act with reasonable diligence, failure to keep the client informed, and failure to return unearned fees.
The filing states:
“Skarda’s conduct violated Rule 1.3 when she failed to lodge the record before the expiration of the time to do so, causing Patterson to miss her opportunity to appeal the lower court’s ruling.”
The filing continues:
“Skarda has not refunded any of the $10,000.00 fee or expenses Patterson paid her to represent her in the appeal that has been dismissed. As the appeal was dismissed for Skarda’s failure to lodge the record in the required time, which ended Skarda’s representation of Patterson, Skarda did not have to perform any appellate services such as briefing the appeal.”
The Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct issued a decision reprimanding attorney Cecily Paterson Skarda for her conduct. The Committee’s Panel D ordered the reprimand as discipline for Skarda.
The Disposition states:
“WHEREFORE, it is the decision and order of the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct, acting through its authorized Panel D, CECILY PATERSON SKARDA Arkansas Bar ID #98114, be, and hereby is, REPRIMANDED for her conduct in this matter. In assessing the sanction, the attorney’s prior disciplinary record was a factor.”
Ms. Skarda practices in North Little Rock, Arkansas. She is licensed in Arkansas with license no. 98114. Her info can be found on avvo.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.