Board of Overseers of the Bar v. William L. Dawson, Jr.
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Docket No.: BAR#13-23
Issued by: Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Date: May 9, 2016
Respondent: William L. Dawson, Jr.
Bar Number: 006887
Order: Receiver Appointment
Disposition/Conduct: Receiver Appointment
M. Bar R. 32
Upon the unopposed Petition submitted by the Board of Overseers of the Bar, pursuant to M. Bar R. 32, the Court Orders:
As of this date, attorneys John Sanford and Elizabeth Noble, both of the Camden law firm of Harmon, Jones & Sanford, LLP, are appointed co-Receivers of the law practice of William L Dawson, Jr. Attorneys Sanford and Noble Shall:
- Secure the professional files, client property and client data of Attorney Dawson;
- obtain access to Attorney Dawson's post office boxes (if any) to secure any law office or legal mail; and access to any e-mail accounts which are associated with Attorney Dawson's law practice;
- obtain and use at the Receivers' discretion, all computer hardware, software and digital files, user names and passwords associated with Mr. Dawson's law practice;
- obtain signatory authority over any IOLTA and other bank accounts the law practice maintained;
- reconcile any IOLTA and all other bank accounts, and then report the results of the reconciliations to Special Bar Counsel;
- obtain access to all safe deposit boxes and other facilities in which office or client property is stored;
- inventory the open and closed client files;
- give priority attention to client matters which are open and time sensitive;
- confer with Special Bar Counsel regarding publication of a notice to former clients regarding closing of the law office and retrieval of files;
- confer with any bookkeeper or accountant of Mr. Dawson;
- prudently access and utilize Attorney Dawson's IOLTA (if any) and operating accounts to effect the formal conclusion of the law practice, including the temporary retention of support staff or other personnel as necessary and appropriate;
- address any conflicts of interest pursuant to M. R. Prof. Cond. 6.5. Any files identified by the Receiver as presenting a conflict of interest shall be transferred to Special Bar Counsel of the Overseers of the Bar, or his designee;
- preserve and protect confidential information of the clients of Attorney Dawson pursuant to M. R. Prof. Cond. 1.6. Attorneys Sanford and Noble are 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. Cond. 1.17A, but only if the revealed information would not compromise the attorney-client privilege or otherwise prejudice the client;
- allow either of them, consistent with M. R. Prof. Conduct 5.5, to be engaged by any former client of Attorney Dawson 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 Mr. Sanford or Ms. Noble as successor counsel is not a per se conflict of interest solely by reason of this Appointment Order;
- act as Receiver until discharged by the Court either by Motion or in accordance with M. Bar R. 32(c); and
- 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. The assets of the law office of Attorney Dawson shall be the first method of compensation to the Receiver and his agents, although ultimately, the Receivers may elect to serve in a pro bono capacity or be compensated from another source.
It is further Ordered Attorneys Sanford and Noble shall be protected from liability for professional services rendered in accordance with this Order pursuant to M. Bar Rule 32(e).
The Clerk is directed to incorporate this Order on the docket by reference.
Dated: May 9, 2016
Donald G. Alexander
Maine Supreme Judicial Court