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04/01/76 STATE BAR GRIEVANCE ADMINISTRATOR v.

April 1, 1976

STATE BAR GRIEVANCE ADMINISTRATOR
v.
GRUBBS



Kavanagh, C. J. Williams, Levin, Coleman, Fitzgerald, and Lindemer, JJ., concurred with Kavanagh, C. J. Ryan, J., took no part in the decision of this case.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Attorney and Client -- State Bar Grievance Board -- Hearing Panel -- Quorum.

A grievance proceeding before a State Bar Grievance Board hearing panel did not deny the respondent due process where a quorum of two of the three panel members was present and unanimously voted for the order of discipline (Grievance Board Rule 16.3.2).

2. Attorney and Client -- State Bar Grievance Board -- Hearing Panel -- Members.

Failure in a grievance proceeding before a State Bar Grievance Board hearing panel to select attorneys familiar with the type of practice in which the respondent is engaged as members of the hearing panel did not result in a denial of due process (Grievance Board Rule 16.3.1).

3. Attorney and Client -- State Bar Grievance Board -- Disciplinary Proceedings -- Request for Investigation.

An attorney is required to answer a request for investigation under the rules of the State Bar Grievance Board, except for the express conditions set forth in the State Bar Grievance Board Rules; the determination that a request for investigation is frivolous is for the State Bar Grievance Administrator and the Grievance Board, not for the respondent (Grievance Board Rules 16.6, 16.7).

4. Attorney and Client -- State Bar Grievance Board -- Disciplinary Proceedings -- Retainer -- Duty to Client.

Failure of an attorney to appear and represent a client at sentencing after accepting a retainer is a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility and suspension from the practice of law for 60 days was warranted where the respondent failed to answer the State Bar Grievance Administrator's request for investigation of the matter (Canons of Professional Responsibility No. 6, Disciplinary Rule 6-101 [3]; State Bar Rule 15, § 2[4]; Grievance Board Rule 16.6).

5. Attorney and Client -- Retainer -- Duty to Client.

Once a lawyer accepts retainer to represent a client he is obliged to exert his best efforts wholeheartedly to advance the client's legitimate interests with fidelity and diligence until he is relieved of that obligation either by his client or the court.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kavanagh

An order of discipline made by unanimous vote of a quorum of a hearing panel suspending Norman J. Grubbs from the practice of law for 60 days. The State Bar Grievance Board affirmed. Respondent did not challenge the panel's findings of fact concerning his failure to appear and represent a client at sentencing and his failure to answer the request for investigation. Respondent appeals. Held:

No prejudicial error resulted from action by the hearing panel with a quorum of two of the three members present because the vote was unanimous. Failure to include on the hearing panel attorneys familiar with the practice of did not result in a denial of due process. A respondent is required to answer a request for investigation except for the express conditions set forth in the State Bar Grievance Board Rules. Suspension of the respondent was warranted where he was retained to ...


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