In re Petition for Disciplinary Action Against Joseph Charles Irby, a Minnesota Attorney, Registration No. 0393167.
L. LILLEHAUG, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility
has filed a petition for disciplinary action alleging, and a
referee has made findings, that respondent Joseph Charles
Irby has committed professional misconduct warranting public
discipline-namely, incompetently failing to comply with the
procedural rules for issuance of subpoenas to depose
witnesses in a criminal matter, taking the sworn statement of
a state's witness pursuant to an improperly issued
subpoena and without notice to the state, failing to comply
with the state's request for a copy of the sworn
statement thus requiring that the state file a motion to
compel, frivolously threatening to file a motion for contempt
when counsel for another witness refused to instruct his
client to comply with respondent's improper subpoena,
using a fee template from another lawyer without reviewing it
for ethical compliance, failing to review a fee agreement
prepared by a legal assistant that contained confusing
language regarding the basis of his attorney's fee,
characterizing an advance fee as "non-refundable"
in a fee agreement, failing to maintain accurate billing
records that resulted in charging a client for business
renewals that were never filed and failing to make a refund,
and failing to deposit a client's unearned advance fee
payment into a trust account, in violation of Minn. R. Prof.
Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.5(a), 1.5(b), 1.5(b)(3), 1.15(c)(3),
1.15(c)(5), 3.1, 3.4(c), 4.4(a), and 8.4(d).
and the Director have entered into a stipulation for
discipline. In it, the parties stipulate that the
referee's findings of fact and conclusions of law are
conclusive, and respondent waives his procedural rights under
Rule 14(g), Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility
(RLPR). The parties jointly recommend that the appropriate
discipline is a public reprimand followed by 2 years of
court has independently reviewed the file and approves the
jointly recommended disposition.
upon all the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. Respondent Joseph Charles Irby is publicly reprimanded.
2. Respondent shall pay $900 in costs pursuant to Rule 24,
3. Respondent is placed on probation for 2 years, subject to
the following terms and conditions:
a. Respondent shall cooperate fully with the Director's
Office in its efforts to monitor compliance with this
probation. Respondent shall promptly respond to the
Director's correspondence by its due date. Respondent
shall provide to the Director a current mailing address and
shall immediately notify the Director of any change of
address. Respondent shall cooperate with the Director's
investigation of any allegations of unprofessional conduct
that may come to the Director's attention. Upon the
Director's request, respondent shall provide
authorization for release of information and documentation to
verify compliance with the terms of this probation.
b. Respondent shall abide by the Minnesota Rules of
c. Respondent shall be supervised by a licensed Minnesota
attorney, appointed by the Director to monitor compliance
with the terms of this probation. Within 2 weeks of the date
of this order, respondent shall provide to the Director the
names of four attorneys who have agreed to be nominated as
respondent's supervisor. If, after diligent effort,
respondent is unable to locate a supervisor acceptable to the
Director, the Director will seek to appoint a supervisor.
Until a supervisor has signed a consent to supervise, the
respondent shall on the first day of each month provide the
Director with an inventory of active client files described
in paragraph (d) below. Respondent shall make active client
files available to the Director on request.
d. Respondent shall cooperate fully with the supervisor in
his/her efforts to monitor compliance with this probation.
Respondent shall contact the supervisor and schedule a
minimum of one in-person meeting per calendar quarter.
Respondent shall submit to the supervisor an inventory of all
active client files by the first day of each month during the
probation. With respect to each active file, the inventory
shall disclose the client name, type of representation, date
opened, most recent activity, next anticipated action, and
anticipated closing date. Respondent's supervisor shall
file written reports with the Director at least quarterly, or
at such more frequent intervals as may reasonably be
requested by the Director.
e. Within 30 days from the date of this order, respondent
shall provide to the Director and to the probation
supervisor, if any, a written plan outlining office
procedures designed to ensure that respondent is in
compliance with probation requirements. Respondent shall
provide progress reports as requested.
f. Within 60 days from the date of this order, respondent
shall make restitution to K. W. in the amount of $228 and
provide the ...