Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Christopher J. Whalley, Esq.

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Docket No.: BAR-08-09

Issued by: Single Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Date: December 10, 2008

Respondent: Christopher J. Whalley, Esq.

Bar Number: 007370

Order: Reprimand

Disposition/Conduct: Conduct Unworthy of an Attorney; Conduct During Representation: Standards of Care and Judgment

Decision and Order

The Board of Overseers of the Bar initiated the above attorney disciplinary proceeding on October 16, 2008 and the Court scheduled this matter for hearing on November 25, 2008. At the hearing, this Court accepted a stipulation between Bar Counsel and the Respondent which disposed of this matter.

The Court accepts the following facts provided by the Stipulation of the parties: Ms. Graham retained Attorney Whalley to represent her in a 2007 divorce in Maine. While Attorney Whalley believed that Ms. Graham's departure date was in either November or December 2007, he failed to appreciate his client's urgency to remain on track for her impending leave. Either through his misunderstanding or misperception about Ms. Graham's constraints, the resulting breakdown in the attorney/client relationship led to Ms. Graham's termination of Attorney Whalley's services. Thereafter, Ms. Graham completed her divorce matter pro se and filed a complaint with the Board of Overseers. In that Attorney Whalley had completed his drafting of all proposed language for her divorce judgment, Ms. Graham was able to conclude her matter without any adverse impact to her case. Ultimately, Attorney Whalley acknowledges that this discrete failure of clear communications, which led to the breakdown of the attorney-client relationship, can be viewed as conduct lacking in the use of reasonable care and judgment. The Board of Overseers of the Bar agrees that the Board shall take no steps to initiate publication of this decision through any releases to the press.

Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that Christopher J. Whalley, Esq. is reprimanded for his violations of Maine Bar Rules 3.1(a); and 3.6(a). It is further ORDERED that the Board of Overseers of the Bar shall take no steps to initiate publication of this decision through any releases to the press.

For the Court

Hon. Warren M. Silver, Associate Justice – Maine Supreme Judicial Court