Board of Overseers of the Bar v. James M. Whittemore
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Docket No.: BAR-18-009
Issued by: Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Date: August 7, 2018
Respondent: James M. Whittemore
Bar Number: 007767
Order: Immediate Interim Suspension
Disposition/Conduct: Competenence; Diligence; Communication; Fees; Conflict-of-Interest: Current Clients; Safekeeping Property, Client Trust Accounts, Interest on Trust Accounts; Candor Toward the Tribunal; Misconduct; Registration
M. Bar R. 24
By filing dated July 17, 2018, the Board of Overseers of the Bar (the Board) petitioned this Court for an immediate Order of Interim Suspension of James M. Whittemore from the practice of law in the State of Maine. Incorporated with the Board's Petition was an Affidavit of Bar Counsel with related exhibits.
Based upon the Board submissions, the Court concludes that the submitted evidence supports a finding that Attorney Whittemore has committed multiple violations of the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct. Specifically, the Court finds that the Board's evidence demonstrates Attorney Whittemore's violations of M. R. Prof. Conduct 1.1; 1.3; 1.4(a); 1.5(a); 1.7(a)(2); 1.15(a)(b); 3.3(a)(1); 4.1(a); and 8.4(a)(b)(c)(d), and Maine Bar Rule 4(b).
Under the facts presented by the Board, this Court concludes that Attorney Whittemore's misconduct serves as an imminent threat to clients, the public and to the administration of justice.
Effective immediately, this Court ORDERS that Attorney James M. Whittemore shall now be suspended from the practice of law in Maine, until further Order of this Court. The Court further ORDERS that Attorney Whittemore shall vacate his law office(s) (including any home office), immediately cease practicing law, immediately cease operations of any and all of his websites, Facebook account(s) and any other form of advertising of his legal services during the period of his suspension. Additionally, Attorney Whittemore shall surrender possession and control of all client files, the keys to his law offices, his law office operating and client trust bank accounts, and all computer and mobile devices/ equipment utilized by him for the practice of law. In that regard, Attorney Whittemore shall provide all necessary login and password information to the Board of Overseers (and/ or the Court-Appointed Receiver) and surrender any such items or information listed above as soon as requested by the Board or the Court's Receiver. Finally, Attorney Whittemore is prohibited from service as a fiduciary and he is ORDERED to relinquish any position as a fiduciary and take steps to receive any discharge from such fiduciary service.
Under separate order the Court shall appoint a Receiver to wind down the law office and protect the interests of Attorney Whittemores clients.
Dated: August 7, 2018
Nancy D. Mills
Justice, Maine Superior Court