The Disciplinary Review Board having filed a report with the Supreme Court recommending that JEFFREY B. SMITH, formerly of MOUNT HOLLY, who was admitted to the Bar of this State in 1975, be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three months for his violation of DR 6-101(A)(1), gross negligence, and DR 7-101(A)(2), failing to carry out a contract of employment, and good cause appearing;
It is ORDERED that the findings of the Disciplinary Review Board are hereby adopted and respondent is suspended from the practice of law for a period of three months, effective immediately, and until further order of this Court; and it is further
Ordered that the Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board, together with this order and the full record of the matter, be added as a permanent part of the file of said JEFFREY B. SMITH as an attorney at law of the State of New Jersey; and it is further
Ordered that JEFFREY B. SMITH be and hereby is restrained and enjoined from practicing law during the period of his suspension; and it is further
ORDERED that respondent comply with Administrative Guideline No. 23 of the Office of Attorney Ethics dealing with suspended, disbarred or resigned attorneys; and it is further
Ordered that JEFFREY B. SMITH reimburse the Ethics Financial Committee for appropriate administrative costs.
Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board.
This matter is before the Board based upon a presentment filed by the District III-A (Ocean County) Ethics Committee. The Board makes the following findings of fact:
On May 6, 1982, Respondent was retained by Margaret A. Fuchs to represent her as executrix of her mother's estate. At this time, Respondent was a solo practitioner working out of his home with no secretarial staff. Respondent opened a bank account for the estate and had the will probated. Respondent met with Mrs. Fuchs in July 1982 to review the assets of the estate. Respondent told her that he expected to complete the estate, which was not complicated, within three to four months.
Mrs. Fuchs telephoned Respondent in November 1982 to inquire about the status of the case. Although her telephone calls were received by members of Respondent's family and messages taken, Respondent did not return the calls. Respondent had moved from his home. He had received some of the messages, but failed to respond. By then, Respondent had become associated with a law firm. Sometime in mid-December 1982, Mrs. Fuchs finally spoke with Respondent. He advised her that the estate was in the process of being settled and would be completed by early 1983. From the end of December 1982 until mid-March 1983, Mrs. Fuchs was unsuccessful in contacting Respondent. She then consulted another attorney. That attorney wrote Respondent on March 25, 1983 ...