Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Margaret P. Shalhoob
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Docket No.: GCF 08-311
Issued by: Grievance Commission
Date: December 1, 2009
Respondent: Margaret P. Shalhoob, Esquire
Bar Number: 003676
Stipulated Report of Findings and Order of Panel A of the Grievance Commission M. Bar. R. 7(e)(2)(4)
On December 1, 2009, with due notice, Panel A of the Grievance Commission conducted a public disciplinary hearing pursuant to Maine Bar Rule 7.1 (e)(2)(E), concerning misconduct by the Respondent, Margaret P. Shalhoob, Esq. This disciplinary proceeding had been commenced by the June 22, 2009 filing of a stipulated Disciplinary Petition by the Board of Overseers of the Bar.
At the hearing, the Respondent was represented by Attorney Dale F. Thistle and the Board of Overseers of the Bar (the Board) was represented by Assistant Bar Counsel Aria Eee. Prior to the disciplinary proceeding, the parties had submitted a stipulated, proposed sanction Report for the Grievance Commission Panel's review and consideration. Although Complainant, District Court Judge Jessie B. Gunther did not attend the hearing, the second complainant Brice E. Gould, did attend and he offered comments to the Panel concerning the proposed Report.
Having reviewed the agreed, proposed findings as presented by counsel, the Panel makes the following disposition:
Respondent Margaret P. Shalhoob (Shalhoob) of Bangor, County of Penobscot, State of Maine, has been at all times relevant hereto an attorney duly admitted to and engaging in the practice of law in the State of Maine and subject to the Maine Bar Rules. Attorney Shalhoob was admitted to the Maine Bar in 1987 and she is currently registered as an active Maine attorney, practicing in Bangor.
Attorney Shalhoob regularly represents court-appointed clients in Maine's District Courts. During the month of August 2008, Attorney Shalhoob encountered some difficulties managing her calendar and court schedule. Part of the difficulty arose because of the absence of her support staff that month. As a consequence of those difficulties, Attorney Shalhoob failed to appear for two protective custody case hearings in August and September, 2008. In response to that failure, Judge Gunther sanctioned Attorney Shalhoob and filed the complaint referenced herein.
During the same time period, Mr. Gould engaged Attorney Shalhoob to represent him in some estate planning matters. Again, due to the decline in Attorney Shalhoob's law practice management, she did not appropriately communicate with Mr. Gould and did not timely address his legal matters.
Conclusion and Sanction
The Code of Professional Responsibility specifically requires attorneys to uphold their responsibilities to clients and the courts. Due to Attorney Shalhoob's lapse in August-September 2008, there were negative impacts up on her clients' affairs and within her role as an officer of the court. The panel notes that Attorney Shalhoob has taken responsibility for her transgressions. While she has no history of bar discipline, Attorney Shalhoob did receive a public dismissal with a warning in 2006 for reasons unrelated to the instant complaints. At the disciplinary hearing, Attorney Shalhoob expressed remorse for her violations of M. Bar. R. 3.6(a)(2)(3) of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
M. Bar. R. 2(a) provides that the purpose of bar disciplinary proceedings is not punishment, but rather the protection of the public from attorneys who, by their conduct, have demonstrated that they are unable, or likely to be unable, to discharge properly their professional duties. Since the evidence supports a finding and Attorney Shalhoob agrees that she did in fact violate the Code of Professional Responsibility, the Panel finds that a public reprimand serves those purposes.
Therefore, the Panel accepts the agreement of the parties, including Attorney Shalhoob's waiver of the right to file a Petition for Review, and concludes that the appropriate disposition of this case is a Public Reprimand to Margaret P. Shalhoob, Esq. which is now hereby issued and imposed up on her pursuant to M. Bar R. 7. 1(e)(3)(C), (4).
For the Parties
Board - Aria Eee, Assistant Bar Counsel
Respondent - Margaret P. Shalhoob, Esquire
For the Grievance Commission
Harold L. Stewart, Esquire
Paul A. Cavanaugh, II, Esquire
Raymond J. Cota