On Friday, August 26, 2022, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on charges of attorney discipline against attorney Gary Allen Vick Jr. The court ordered the suspension of Vick from the practice of law for an interim period.
The case is titled ‘Disciplinary Counsel v. Vick, with case number #2022-0939.
The charges cited rules of professional conduct 1.3, 1.4(a)(2), 1.4(a)(3), 1.16(d), 3.4(c), 3.4(d), 8.4(d). These ethics rules generally require:
A lawyer to reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client’s objectives are to be accomplished.
A lawyer to promptly deliver client papers and property as part of the termination of representation.
Prohibiting a lawyer from knowingly disobeying an obligation under the rules of a tribunal.
Prohibiting a lawyer from intentionally failing to make a reasonably diligent effort to comply with a legally proper discovery request by an opposing party.
Prohibiting a lawyer from engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
On August 3, 2022, the Board of Professional Conduct filed a certification of default, alleging that Vick failed to file an answer to a formal complaint pending before the board.
The disciplinary counsel alleged that Vick had neglected the legal matters of six clients, failed to reasonably communicate with those clients, failed to refund their unearned fees, lied to at least one of them, and then failed to cooperate in three of the ensuing disciplinary investigations.
According to the complaint, between July 2018 and April 2020, Vick agreed to represent five clients — Joseph Dubbs, Mark and Donna Dreher, Maxim Loifer, and Alison Rerko — in various legal matters. Vick accepted retainers ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 from those clients but failed to deposit them into his clients’ trust accounts even though he had performed little or no work on the clients’ legal matters.
Vick communicated periodically, but not consistently, with his clients about their cases. Some of those communications served only to inform his clients that he was busy in court and that he would call or meet with the client later — more often than not, he failed to follow through on those promises. Vick eventually ceased all communications with Dubbs, the Drehers, Loifer, and Rerko and failed to respond to their requests that he refund their unearned retainers.
The disciplinary counsel filed a posthearing brief recommending that Vick be permanently disbarred for his misconduct. Vick was directed to file a posthearing brief and was granted an extension of time to do so, but he did not file a brief or propose a sanction for his stipulated misconduct.
The order reads:
“Upon consideration thereof and pursuant to Gov.Bar R. V(14)(B)(1), it is ordered and decreed that an interim default suspension is immediately entered against Gary Allen Vick Jr., Attorney Registration No. 0071495, last known business address in Parma, Ohio, and that the suspension is effective as of the date of this entry.'”
The order continues:
‘It is further ordered that respondent immediately cease and desist from the practice of law in any form and that he is hereby forbidden to appear on behalf of another before any court, judge, commission, board, administrative agency, or other public authority.”
The order further states:
“It is further ordered that before entering into employment, contractual, or consulting relationship with any attorney or law firm, the respondent shall verify that the attorney or law firm has complied with the registration requirements of Gov.Bar R. V(23)(C). If employed pursuant to Gov.Bar R. V(23), the respondent shall refrain from direct client contact except as provided in Gov.Bar R. V(23)(A)(1) and from receiving, disbursing, or otherwise handling any client trust funds or property.”
As of today, Mr. Vick is listed on the website of the law firm Connick & Associates as a practicing attorney. He attended Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, graduating in 1999. He has been licensed in Ohio, with license number #0071495.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.