Case Caption: In re Suspension of B. Patricia Welcome, EsquireCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2012-0094Date: 06/28/2013Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary:

In a review after remand of the sanction recommended by the Ethics and Grievance Committee of the Virgin Islands Bar Association relating to numerous ethical violations committed by an attorney, see In re Suspension of Welcome, S. Ct. Civ. No. 2012-0094 (February 26, 2013), the Committee's petition is granted, as modified. The factors considered are [1] the duty violated; [2] the lawyer's mental state; [3] the potential or actual injury caused by the lawyer's misconduct; and [4] the existence of aggravating or mitigating factors. In considering the appropriate sanction for the attorney's violation of Model Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a)(1), 1.4(a)(3), and 1.4(a)(4), the Committee's supplemental decision of March 13, 2013 properly identified the applicable baseline sanction of a six month suspension, but erred in its consideration of the aggravating and mitigation factors in this case, including the substantial delay in adjudicating one client's grievance as an additional mitigating factor, along with the attorney's cooperation with disciplinary authorities, as well as her absence of a dishonest or selfish motive, and timely good faith effort to make restitution or to rectify consequences of misconduct. This case presents five mitigating factors that greatly outweigh the single aggravating factor, and warrant a substantial downward departure from the baseline sanction. Under the totality of the circumstances, the proper sanction is a public reprimand, payment of $982.50 in costs to the Virgin Islands Bar Association, restitution of $280 plus interest to the client, and a direction to obtain a passing score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. If these requirements are not satisfied before December 31, 2013, this Court may, sua sponte or upon motion by Disciplinary Counsel, suspend the attorney from the practice of law for no less than three months.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion