Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Basil L. Kellis

Download Download Decision (PDF)

Docket No.: CRT#15-198

Issued by: Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Date: June 23, 2015

Respondent: Basil L. Kellis

Bar Number: 001662

Order: Receiver Appointment

Disposition/Conduct: Receiver Appointment

Order Appointing Receiver
M. Bar R. 7.3(f)(l)

Upon Petition submitted by the Board of Overseers of the Bar, pursuant to M. Bar R. 7.3(f), and by agreement the Court Orders:

As of this date, Charles L. Nickerson, Esq., is appointed the Receiver of the law practice of Basil L. Kellis of the firm Willard & Kellis, P. A. William J. Griset, Jr., Esq., is designated as successor to Attorney Nickerson if Attorney Nickerson no longer can serve as Receiver. With the cooperation of Attorney Kellis's legal assistant Carol Duckworth; Attorney Kellis's Personal Representative Michael Kellis; and Attorney Griset, Attorney Nickerson shall:

  1. Secure the professional files, client property and client data of Attorney Kellis;
  2. Obtain access to Attorney Kellis's post office boxes, to secure any law office or legal mail, and access to any e-mail accounts which are associated with Attorney Kellis's law practice;
  3. Obtain use, at the Receivers' discretion, all computer hardware, software and digital files, user names and passwords;
  4. Obtain signatory authority over IOLTA and all other bank accounts the law practice maintained;
  5. Reconcile IOLTA and all other bank accounts, and then report the results of the reconciliations to Special Bar Counsel;
  6. Obtain access to all safe deposit boxes and other facilities in which office or client property is stored;
  7. Inventory the open and closed client files;
  8. Give priority attention to client matters which are open and time sensitive;
  9. Confer with Special Bar Counsel regarding publication of a notice to former clients regarding closing of the law office and retrieval of files;
  10. Prudently access and utilize Attorney Kellis's operating and IOLTA accounts to effect the formal conclusion of the law practice, including the temporary retention of office staff or other personnel as necessary and appropriate;
  11. Address any conflicts of interest pursuant to M. R. Prof. Cond. 6.5. Any files identified by the Receivers as presenting a conflict of interest shall be transferred to Special Bar Counsel of the Overseers of the Bar, or his designee;
  12. Preserve and protect confidential information of the clients of Attorney Kellis pursuant to M. R. Prof. Cond. 1.6. Attorney Nickerson is authorized to allow limited disclosure of confidential information to detect and resolve conflicts of interest arising from his appointment as Receiver, or in conjunction with the sale of the practice pursuant to M R. Prof. Resp. 1.17, but only if the revealed information would not compromise the attorney-client privilege or otherwise prejudice the client;
  13. Allow himself and Attorney Griset, jointly or individually, to be engaged by any former client of Attorney Kellis provided that they inform such client in writing that the client is free to choose to employ any attorney, and that this Order of Appointment does not mandate or recommend the Receivers' employment by the client. A client's retention of either of the Receivers as successor counsel is not a per se conflict of interest solely by reason of their appointment as a Receivers by this Order; and
  14. Act as Receiver until discharged by the Court either by Motion or in accordance with M. Bar R 7.3(f)(3).
  15. Submit to the Court a record of hours worked and disbursements made in the event payment of legal fees at the State court appointment rate, if such compensation is requested by Attorneys Griset and Nickerson. The assets of the law office of Attorney Kellis shall be the first method of compensation to the Receivers, although ultimately, the Receivers may elect to serve in a pro bono capacity or be compensated from another source (e.g., the estate of Attorney Kellis).

It is further Ordered Attorneys Griset and Nickerson shall be protected from liability for professional services rendered in accordance with this Order pursuant to M. Bar Rule 7.5(f)(5).

The Clerk is directed to incorporate this order on the docket by reference.

Dated: June 23, 2015

Jeffrey L. Hjelm
Associate Justice
Maine Supreme Judicial Court