STATE OF NEBRASKA EX REL. COUNSEL FOR DISCIPLINE OF THE NEBRASKA SUPREME COURT, RELATOR,
BRADLEY A. BOYUM, RESPONDENT
JUDGMENT OF SUSPENSION.
HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, McCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.
On February 4, 2015, amended formal charges containing one count were filed by the office of the Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court, relator, against respondent, Bradley A. Boyum. Respondent filed an answer to the amended formal charges on February 9. A referee
was appointed, and the referee held a hearing on the charges. Respondent and a client of respondent appeared at the hearing and testified, and exhibits were admitted into evidence.
The referee filed a report on May 13, 2015. With respect to the amended formal charges, the referee concluded that respondent's conduct had violated Neb. Ct. R. of Prof. Cond. § § 3-501.3 (diligence), 3-501.4(a)(3) (communications), and 3-508.4 (misconduct). The referee further found that respondent had violated his oath of office as an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Nebraska. See Neb. Rev. Stat. § 7-104 (Reissue 2012). With respect to the discipline to be imposed, the referee recommended a 60-day suspension, and [291 Neb. 697] as a condition of reinstatement, that respondent complete 6 hours of legal education in the area of professional responsibility, and that upon reinstatement, if accepted, respondent be placed on monitored probation for a period of 2 years. Neither relator nor respondent filed exceptions to the referee's report. Relator filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Neb. Ct. R. § 3-310(L) (rev. 2014) of the disciplinary rules. We grant the motion for judgment on the pleadings as to the facts and impose discipline as indicated below.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Respondent was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Nebraska on September 21, 2004. At all times relevant to these proceedings, he was engaged in the practice of law in Omaha, Nebraska.
On June 30, 2014, relator filed formal charges against respondent, and on February 4, 2015, relator filed amended formal charges against respondent. The amended formal charges contained one count generally regarding respondent's failure to communicate with a client and respondent's failure to perform the legal work for the client for which respondent had been paid. The formal charges alleged that by his conduct, respondent violated his oath of office as an attorney and § § 3-501.3, 3-501.4(a)(3) and (4), and 3-508.4(a) and (d). On February 9, 2015, respondent filed his answer to the amended formal charges, generally denying the allegations set forth in the amended formal charges.
A referee was appointed on October 24, 2014, and the referee held a hearing on the amended formal charges. Respondent and the client testified at the hearing, and exhibits were admitted into evidence.
After the hearing, the referee filed his report and recommendation on May 13, 2015. The substance of the referee's findings may be summarized as follows: Respondent first met the client in December 2011, and on February 26, 2012, the client emailed respondent to schedule a meeting " 'to start our estate process.'" The initial estate planning meeting occurred [291 Neb. 698] on March 2 and lasted approximately 1 hour. At the end of the meeting, respondent gave the client a folder containing an asset information booklet.
No followup meeting was scheduled. At the hearing, the client was asked whether he told respondent how quickly he wanted to proceed, and the client stated, " 'Quite the opposite. I told him I was not in a hurry.'" Respondent testified that he believed the client would contact him when the client was ready to take the next step. There were no additional contacts between respondent and the client in 2012.
On January 16, 2013, the client called respondent to discuss an unrelated matter, and at that time, respondent brought up the topic of estate planning. Respondent's notes from the January 16 telephone call stated that " '[the client] is still working on the asset booklet but they are planning on
doing the Living Trust packet.'" Respondent's notes further stated that respondent " '[d]id [an] estate plan draft,'" and respondent testified at the hearing that that meant he had " 'entered information into a drafting program.'"
On January 28, 2013, respondent created a document titled the client's " Estate Plan Drafting Notes" (emphasis in original), and according to these notes, respondent " '[d]rafted Estate Plan for [the client] after our conversation from January 16, 2013 because he said he was going forward with the Living Trust packet.'" Respondent testified at the hearing that he did not intend to show the original draft of the estate plan to the client. Respondent's notes listed some of the ...