On Wednesday, August 2, 2023, the Sixth District Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar publicly reprimanded attorney Robert E. Walker, Jr. for ethical violations in client representation.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Robert E. Walker, Jr.,” with case no. 23-060-127352.

The charges cited Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 and 1.15(a)(b)(c)(d) which states:

A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

Depositing Funds (1) All funds received or held by a lawyer or law firm on behalf of a client or a third party, or held by a lawyer as a fiduciary, other than reimbursement of advances for costs and expenses shall be deposited in one or more identifiable trust accounts.

A lawyer shall maintain complete records of all funds, securities, and other properties of a client coming into the possession of the lawyer and render appropriate accountings to the client regarding them.

A client ledger with a separate record for each client, other person, or entity from whom money has been received in trust. Each entry shall include, at a minimum: identification of the client or matter; date and amount of the transaction; name of the payor or payee; source of funds received or purpose of the disbursement; and current balance.

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, refunding any advance payment of a fee that has not been earned and handling records as indicated in paragraph (e).

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

Walker was retained by Brenden Sims for a criminal case in Henrico County, Virginia, for a non-refundable fee of $3,500. However, Walker failed to take the promised legal actions, such as contacting the court-appointed attorney and filing the necessary motions. He also didn’t appear in court as scheduled.

Walker subsequently apologized but did not refund the unearned advanced fee. He later refunded $2,000 to Sims, claiming $1,500 was earned for communication efforts. Additionally, Walker did not maintain proper records of funds, deposited the advanced fee into his personal account, and violated ethical rules regarding diligence, safekeeping property, and record-keeping.

The filing states:

“Respondent refused to refund the advanced fee of S3,500 to Complainant; however, Respondent refunded $2,000 to Complainant, indicating that Sl, 500 was earned by Respondent by communicating with Complainant on several occasions. Respondent did not provide a full accounting of the fees that were alleged to have been earned to Complainant. Respondent represents that he met with the Complainant once and his mother on two occasions and prepared fully for the criminal case.”

As per the agreed disposition, the Sixth District Subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar has chosen to issue a public reprimand to Walker, Jr.

The Disposition states:

“Accordingly, having approved the Agreed Disposition, it is the decision of the Subcommittee to impose a Public Reprimand with Terms.”

Mr. Walker Jr. attended the University of Florida College of Law, graduating in 1972. He practices in Richmond, Virginia. He is licensed in Virginia. His info can be found on lawyer.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.