Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Richard Salewski

Download Download Decision (PDF)

Docket No.: BAR-14-17

Issued by: Single Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Date: December 2, 2014

Respondent: Richard Salewski

Bar Number: 007185

Order: Receiver Appointment

Disposition/Conduct: Receiver Appointment

Order for Appointment of Proxy M. Bar R. 7.3(f)(1)

Upon the November 25, 2014 Petition for Appointment of Receiver filed by the Board of Overseers of the Bar, pursuant to M. Bar R. 7.3(f), this Court Orders the following:

As of this date, Attorneys Hylie West and Jennifer Villeneuve are appointed as the Co-Receivers of Richard Salewski’s law practice. As such Attorneys West and Villeneuve shall have the sole authority to:

1. Secure the professional files, client funds and file property of the Salewski law office;

2. Obtain signatory authority over all Salewski law office bank accounts (IOLTA and operating/office accounts);

3. Obtain access to Mr. Salewski’s computer hardware and software (together with required passwords), and any post office boxes to secure all law office or legal mail;

4. Inventory the open and closed client files;

5. Give priority attention to client matters which are open and time sensitive. Notify all courts and relevant Registries that Attorneys West and Villeneuve are serving as Mr. Salewski’s Co-Receivers until further order of this Court.

6. Notify clients or former clients that Attorneys West and Villeneuve are serving as Co-Receivers to the Salewski law practice and provide opportunity for clients to consult with the Receivers or retrieve their property.

7. The Receivers shall access and utilize Mr. Salewski’s operating and IOLTA accounts to prudently and appropriately manage and/or (if necessary in the Receiver’s discretion) wind down the law practice. The Receivers may pay expenses, as they deem appropriate given available funds or anticipated receivables to the firm. The Receivers may also hire temporary office staff and take other action as necessary and appropriate to manage and or wind down the Salewski law practice.

As a service to the bar, the Receivers acknowledge that they shall serve in their capacities on a pro bono basis, although if there are sufficient assets (including receivables) from Mr. Salewski or his law practice, the Receivers may be reimbursed from those assets. The Receivers shall submit a quarterly written report to the Court and the Board containing a record of time worked.

Likewise, the Receiver shall submit an itemized list of any disbursements made to effect the terms of this Order. Mr. Salewski and or his law practice shall be the first choice for source of payment for those disbursements. If insufficient assets are available from Mr. Salewski, the Board of Overseers of the Bar may be an alternate payment source for those disbursements.

Attorneys West and Villeneuve shall act as Receivers until discharged by the Court either by Motion or in accordance with M. Bar R 7.3(f).

Attorneys West and Villeneuve so appointed shall not disclose any information contained in any file listed in the inventory without the consent of the client to whom such file relates except as may be necessary to carry out an order of court including any order under M. Bar R 7.3(f).

Furthermore, either Attorney West or Attorney Villeneuve may be engaged by any former client of Mr. Salewski provided that the Proxy informs such client in writing that the client is free to choose to employ any attorney, and that the Court's appointment order does not mandate or recommend the Receivers employment by any client.

The Receivers are subject to all Maine Rules of Professional Conduct, including M. R. Prof Conduct 1.7; 1.8 and 1.9 regarding conflicts of interest. A client’s retention of either Receiver as successor counsel is not a per se conflict of interest solely by reason of appointment by this Order.

The Receivers shall be protected from liability for professional services rendered in accordance with this Order.

Finally, within ninety (90) days of this Order, the Receivers shall file a status report with the Court, with a copy to the Board, c/o Deputy Bar Counsel Aria Eee, Esq.

Dated: December 2, 2014

Andrew M. Mead, Associate Justice

Maine Supreme Judicial Court