► Attorney Steven Hartford of Westerly, RI; ethical goblin Print E-mail
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Attorney Steven Hartford of Westerly, RI; ethical goblin

 
The state of Connecticut provided Steven Hartford with a law license in 1991 after he graduated from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Ross also received a license to practice in Massachusetts.
 
The Windham Judicial District Grievance Panel found Sylvia guilty of the following misconduct
  1. Failed to provide competent legal services (moron)
  2. Failed to communicate with client
  3. Violated or attempted to violate Rules of Conduct by assisting or inducing another to do so, or to do so through the acts of another
  4. Failed to terminate representation when required
  5. Failed to take reasonable steps to protect client’s interests after being fired
  6. Failed to provide client with written fee agreement as the rules require
  7. Failed to respond to grievance committee requests (Up Yours, said Steven!)
In one matter, Steven was hired to represent a cline in a divorce matter. At the time, the client paid Steven a $1,000 retainer fee. Steven didn’t provide the client with the required written fee agreement; however, he agreed that his fee would be $150 per hour. Steven subsequently represented the client on two other separate matters, but again failed to provide the client with any written fee agreements.
 
Subsequently, Steven sent the client an itemized bill for legal services rendered over a four month period of time. The invoice itemized 13.99 hours of legal services at $150 per hour plus $75 in expenses. The fees owed exceeded the $1,000 retainer previously paid by the client. Upon receipt of the bill, the client went to Steven’s office to discuss it. The client was furious over the amount of the bill and threatened Steven. As a result, Steven advised the client in writing that he had reported his threatening behavior to the police and that Steven would no longer represent him.
 
Steven later filed a motion to withdraw from the divorce matter, but failed to follow required court procedures to have the motion heard. Later on, Steven received notice that the divorce matter was scheduled for trial.
 
Prior to beginning testimony, Steven asked the court to grant his motion to withdraw. Because Steven failed to pursue the motion earlier, he would now have to persuade the judge to allow him to withdraw on the eve of trial. In order to do so, Steven would have had to reveal to the court the threatening behavior of his client. If Steven did so, he would be adding credibility to the ex-wife’s testimony that his client had physically abused and threatened her over the term of their marriage. Steven chose not to reveal this information and the court then denied his withdrawal motion.
 
After the trial concluded, the court entered its final judgment in the divorce case. Steven’s client had 30 days to file an appeal of the court’s final judgment; however, Steven did not provide a copy to his client in a timely manner. When the client finally received it, there was insufficient time for him to hire a competent attorney to effectuate an appeal on his behalf.
 
As a consequence of his misconduct, the cheerleaders for Attorney Misfits sitting on the Statewide Grievance Committee punished Ross by gifting him with a complimentary reprimand.
 
As we speak (ca. May 2013) Steven practices with Capalbo Capalbo & Hartford at 67 High Street in Westerly, Rhode Island.
 
The Committee to Expose Dishonest and Incompetent Judges, Attorneys and Public Officials, Powered by Joomla!; Joomla templates by SG web hosting

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