FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2013
Contact: Rick DeBruhl, Chief Communications Officer
Phone: 602.340.7335, Mobile: 602.513.6385
Attorneys Edward D. Fitzhugh, Gil Shaw, and Thomas A. Walcott Suspended from the Practice of Law
PHOENIX – March 13, 2013 – Attorneys Edward D. Fitzhugh of Tempe, Gil Shaw of Prescott, and Thomas A. Walcott of Gilbert have been suspended from the practice of law for violating the Rules of Professional Conduct.
In the matter of Edward D. Fitzhugh, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Arizona Supreme Court accepted a consent agreement between him and the State Bar of Arizona and ordered that he be suspended from the practice of law for six months.
The State Bar of Arizona's investigation found that Fitzhugh violated several Rules of Professional Conduct. The Bar alleged that he charged unreasonable fees, revealed confidential information without the client's informed consent, used information relating to the representation of his client's—to their disadvantage—without their informed consent, and failed to take steps to protect the client's interest upon withdrawal. He also made false statements, misrepresentations or omissions during the proceedings, and engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Fitzhugh's suspension is effective on March 29, 2013. Upon reinstatement, he will serve a six-month probation period—subject to early termination—where he will have to complete six hours of Continued Legal Education (CLE) courses in addition to the standard requirements. He was also ordered to pay $2,532.26 to the State Bar of Arizona for costs and expenses incurred during its investigation.
In the matter of Gil Shaw, a six-month and one-day suspension was ordered by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Arizona Supreme Court after considering a consent agreement between him and the State Bar of Arizona.
During the State Bar of Arizona's investigation, Shaw was found to have committed substantial violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Bar alleged that he failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness while representing his client, which resulted in the dismissal of an appeal; failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of the matter or promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; failed to communicate to his client—in writing—the scope of representation or the fees and expenses to be paid by the client; and failed to provide his client with a copy of his file upon termination of the representation.
In addition, Shaw accepted a retainer from a client, gave him legal advice, prepared a notice of appeal, and caused it to be filed with a justice court while serving a previous suspension.
Shaw's suspension is effective on April 1, 2013. He was ordered to pay $1,200 to the State Bar of Arizona for costs and expenses incurred during its investigation.
In the matter of Thomas A. Walcott, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Arizona Supreme Court accepted a consent agreement between him and the State Bar of Arizona and ordered that he be suspended from the practice of law for 30 days.
The State Bar of Arizona's investigation found that Walcott had a potential conflict of interest while representing two clients in a lawsuit to recover attorney fees.
The investigation alleged that he failed to obtain informed consent—in writing—to represent both clients at the same time; failed to disclose valuable evidentiary information to opposing party and their counsel; and permitted one client—who is an attorney—to be unnecessarily involved in the legal services he provided the other client—a non-attorney. It also alleged that he engaged in unprofessional conduct, which resulted from statements, misrepresentations, and omissions throughout the representation. This led to opposing parties needing to file additional pleadings, requiring the court to conduct additional hearings, and may have required the court reassign the matter to a different judge.
Walcott's suspension is effective on March 30, 2013. He was ordered to pay $1,209.44 to the State Bar of Arizona for costs and expenses incurred during its investigation.
About the State Bar
The State Bar of Arizona is a non-profit organization that operates under the supervision of the Arizona Supreme Court. The Bar includes approximately 17,000 active attorneys and provides education and development programs for the legal profession and the public. Since 1933 the Bar and its members have been committed to serving the public by making sure the voices of all people in Arizona are heard in our justice system.
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