On Monday, May 1, 2023, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania suspended attorney Kelley Elizabeth Clements Keller for her failure to complete her legal services while representing a client.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Kelley Elizabeth Clements Keller,” with case no. 177 DB 2022.
The charges cited Pennyslvania Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4(a)(2), 1.4(a)(3), 1.4(a)(4), 1.5(a), 1.15(e), 1.16(d), 5.5(a), 8.4(b), 8.4(c) and Pa. R.D.E 217(a), 217(c)(2), 217(e)(1), 217(j)(1), and 217(j)(4)(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(v) which states:
Requires a lawyer to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.
Requires a lawyer to reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client’s objectives are to be accomplished.
Requires a lawyer to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter.
Requires a lawyer to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
Prohibits a lawyer from entering into an agreement for, charging, or collecting a clearly excessive fee.
Requires a lawyer to promptly deliver to a client any property, including RPC 1.15 funds, that the client is entitled to receive and, upon request, render a full accounting of the property
Requires a lawyer, upon the termination of the representation, to take steps to protect the client’s interest, including surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refunding any advance payment of fee or expense that has not been earned or incurred.
Prohibits the unauthorized practice of law.
Prohibits a lawyer from committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects which.
Prohibits a lawyer from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
Requires a formerly admitted attorney to notify all clients being represented in pending matters, other than litigation or administrative proceedings, of their administrative suspension and the need for the clients to seek legal advice elsewhere.
Requires a formerly admitted attorney to promptly notify all persons with whom the attorney expects to have professional contacts under circumstances where there is a reasonable probability that they may infer that the formerly admitted attorney continues as an attorney in good standing
Requires a formerly admitted attorney to, within 10 days of the effective date of their administrative suspension, file with the Board a verified statement and serve a copy on Disciplinary Counsel, attesting to their compliance with the applicable rules and providing proof thereof
Prohibits a formerly admitted attorney from engaging in any form of law-related activities in this Commonwealth, except in accordance with the rules.
Prohibits a formerly admitted attorney from performing any law-related activity for a law firm, organization, or lawyer with which the formerly admitted attorney was associated on or after the date on which the acts that resulted in the suspension occurred.
Prohibits a formerly admitted attorney from performing any law-related services from an office that is not staffed by a supervising attorney on a full-time basis.
Prohibits a formerly admitted attorney from performing any law-related services for a client who in the past was represented by the formerly admitted attorney.
Prohibits a formerly admitted attorney from representing themselves as a lawyer or person of similar status.
Prohibits a formerly admitted attorney from having any contact with clients either in person, by telephone, or in writing, except concerning ministerial matters.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
Allegedly, after being terminated while representing a client in intellectual property and business-related matters, the respondent failed to complete the services for which she was retained and paid in full by the former.
The filing states:
“Ms. Williams paid Respondent an upfront fæ of for the services to be performed. In September 2021, Ms. Williams terminated the Respondent’s representation. At the time the representation was terminated, the Respondent had completed some, but not all, of the services that were to be covered by Ms. Williams’ $15,000 payment. Ms. Williams requested that the Respondent refund $10,000 of the fee in recognition of the services that were not completed Respondent acknowledged she had not provided the full scope of services and offered to refund $4,164 to Ms. Williams.”
The filing continues:
“Respondent failed to complete the services for which she was retained and Respondent failed to timely refund the unearned portion of Ms. Williams’ fee. On March 13, 2023, Respondent mailed Ms. Williams a cashier’s check in the amount of $4,164.”
The respondent had also failed several clients by failing to promptly refund unearned fees, failing to file timely responses to the client’s requests for updates, failing to provide services, failing to complete work for the client, and failing to take action on the client’s behalf.
In lieu of this, the respondent and the petitioner filed for a joint recommendation for discipline against the former, thereby suspending attorney Keller from the practice of law.
The Disposition states:
“AND NOW, this 1st day of May 2023, upon consideration of the Recommendation of the Three-Member Panel of the Disciplinary Board, the Joint Petition in Support of Discipline on Consent is granted, and Kelley Elizabeth Clements Keller is suspended on consent from the Bar of this Commonwealth for a period of one year and one day. Respondent shall comply with the provisions of Pa.R.D.E. 217 and pay costs to the Disciplinary Board. See Pa.R.D.E. 208(g).”
As of today, Ms. Keller is listed as a managing partner at the Keller Law Firm, LLC. She attended the Catholic University of America, Colombus School of Law, graduating in 2008. She practices in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. She is licensed in Pennsylvania with license no. 320105. Her info can be found on martindale.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.