In Uncategorized on 03/30/2015 at 16:51

The somewhat cryptic title of this blogpost will be more familiar to my nearest and dearest than to the general reader, but I can’t resist Judge James S. (“Big Jim”) Halpern’s designated hitter, admonishing an attorney I’ll call Wilf.

Wilf filed two notices of appearance electronically after Judge Big Jim tossed him from Emmanuel C. Acholonu & Shawn Y. Acholonu, Docket No. 17237-13, filed 3/30/15.

Wilf never bothered with status reports or showing up for calendar call. Last year, Judge Big Jim admonished Wilf to follow the ABA Model Rules.

“Tax Court Rule 202(a)(3) specifically identifies as a ground for discipline any conduct that violates the letter and spirit of the Model Rules. For example, Model Rule 1.1 requires a lawyer to provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation. Model Rule 1.3 requires a lawyer to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client. Model Rule 3.4(c) prohibits a lawyer from knowingly disobeying court rules and orders. Counsel’s conduct in this case seems to have been deficient on these and possibly other grounds.” Order, at pp. 1-2.

Although tossed, Wilf, nothing daunted, presses on. He never replies to Judge Big Jim’s objections.

His clients twice ask Judge Big Jim to let Wilf back in, saying they’re satisfied with his representation of them. So would I be, if my attorney stalled IRS when I owed money.

But that doesn’t fly with Judge Big Jim. Wilf’s clients may be happy, but Wilf’s conduct is never explained, so Wilf is tossed again.

However, Judge Big Jim offers Wilf a chance to cross the metaphorical Jordan into the Promised Land at 400 Second Street, NW.

“Without limiting his options for showing us how he intends to insure his compliance with the Model Rules and the Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure, we invite him to show us that, since he was first withdrawn as counsel in this case, he has taken and satisfactorily completed continuing education courses addressing compliance with the Model Rules or other continuing education courses addressing practice management or similar subjects concerning the efficient and responsible practice of law. While petitioners may be satisfied with [Wilf’s] performance, we need not rely on their belief as to whether [Wilf] has represented them in an efficient, competent, and ethical manner. To comply with our suggestion as to what [Wilf] must show, petitioners may move the Court for permission for [Wilf] to file an entry of appearance on their behalf, accompanied by an affidavit of [Wilf’s] establishing grounds justifying our giving him permission to enter his appearance.” Order, at p. 3.

Until then, Wilf is tossed yet again.


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