A Hamilton County Indiana adoption attorney was recently publicly reprimanded by the Indiana Supreme Court for violating Professional Rules of Conduct 1.7 (Conflicts of Interest), 1.8 (Conflicts of Interest), and 8.4 (General Misconduct). Here, the attorney was hired by a couple to represent them in the adoption of a child. Before the attorney’s retention, the couple had previously already reached an agreement with the birth mother to allow them to adopt the child.
However, when the attorney contacted the birth mother, she expressed concerns with his current clients and asked the attorney for profiles of other prospective adoptive parents. Despite representing the couple, the attorney nevertheless showed the birth mother the profiles of other potential adoptive parents. Eventually the birth mother selected a different couple than the attorney’s original clients.
The attorney never informed his original clients that the adoptive mother had concerns with them or that he showed her different options until after the decision was made. Thereafter, the attorney sat down with them to discuss reimbursement of fees the couple advanced to him. The couple and the attorney appeared to have resolved the issue at this meeting, however, at the conclusion of the meeting, the attorney presented them with a release purporting to bar them from filing a “claim” to the Indiana Supreme Court disciplinary commission.
The attorney erred in this circumstance by failing to disclose to his clients that the birth mother had concerns with selecting them as adoptive parents. But, the most critical error was then representing the birth mother in her selection of an alternative set of adoptive parents without obtaining consent from the original clients.
Alex Passo and the Patterson Law Firm, LLC handle legal malpractice actions throughout Illinois and Indiana. If you have a matter that you would like to discuss with Alex, you may reach him at (312) 750-1820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.