On Monday, October 17, 2022, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge for the Arizona Supreme Court ruled on charges of attorney discipline against Orlando attorney Sam Babs III alleging Misconduct.
The case is styled “In the matter of Sam Babbs III” and was brought by the State Bar of Arizona. Case #2022-9042.
The charges cited rules of professional conduct 1.5, 3.3(a)(1),3.4(c),5.5,8.4(c), 8.4(d) which states:
A lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses.
A lawyer shall not knowingly:
(1) make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer
A lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists
A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction or assist another in doing so
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The rules of professional conduct can be found here.
The following are as alleged and summarized from the filing:
On March 29, 2021, Bankruptcy Judge Daniel Collins issued an Order to Show Cause (OSC) directed at the Respondent’s law firm in Florida — the Babbs Law Firm – – in response to a disclosure by Arizona attorney Gina Becker Zarling that she represented a debtor pursuant to a contract with Respondent’s firm. Zarling’s agreement with the Babbs Firm provided for payment to her of $990 from the $4,500 in proceeds that the Babbs Firm was paid to handle the client’s bankruptcy in Arizona. No lawyer from the Babbs Firm was admitted in Arizona. The compensation provision of the agreement stated that Zarling would be paid by and could only look for payment from the Babbs Firm, and compensation was fixed. Judge Collins noted that the agreement between Zarling and the Babbs Firm was not previously disclosed, nor was the debtor’s payment to the Babbs Firm — in violation of 11 U.S.C. § 329 and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 201.
The filing states:
‘Respondent testified that the Babbs Firm was a “bankruptcy petition preparer” as defined in 11 U.S.C. § 110(a)(1) and was not acting as legal counsel. He admitted, however, that no one associated with his firm had obtained certification to act as a bankruptcy petition preparer and that they were paid $4,500, only $990 of which was paid to Zarling. Respondent’s testimony was inconsistent with the language of his agreement with Zarling, which described himself and his firm as “co-counsel.’
The filing continues:
‘Judge Collins determined that Respondent violated 11 U.S.C. § 110, Local Rule 2090 – 2, and Bankruptcy Rules 2014 and 2016 by failing to disclose compensation and by failing to obtain certification as a bankruptcy petition preparer. Judge Collins further found that the Respondent engaged in unprofessional conduct and should be sanctioned. He noted that the presumptive fee for document preparation was $200 and the $4,500 fee paid to Respondent’s firm by the client was excessive. He ordered that “due to the exceedingly poor service provided, all fees must be disgorged.’
The Disposition states:
“It is therefore ordered that Sam Babbs III, a non-member of the State Bar of Arizona, is reprimanded for violating the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct.”
As of today, Mr. Babs is listed on the website of the law firm, The Babbs Law firm as a practicing attorney. His info can be found on Justicia.com. He attended Florida A&M University, College of Law, graduating in 2008. Babs practices in Orlando, Florida. He has been licensed in Florida.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.