The Virginia Court of Appeals today fined a Suffolk lawyer $1,000 and disbarred her indefinitely from practicing before the court because she repeatedly ignored the court’s orders.
The difficulties of Anne Marston Lynch began in March 2008 when she filed an Anders brief, the procedure used when a lawyer seeks to withdraw as counsel because she believes a client’s appeal is without merit.
The court denied the request and cited Lynch’s failure to satisfy the Anders requirement that appointed counsel conduct a thorough search for any arguable claim that might support an appeal. Lynch failed to comply with the order, nor did she respond to another order entered a month later.
In August, the court entered an order removing Lynch as counsel for the client and directed her to show why she shouldn’t be held in contempt.
When Lynch still hadn’t responded by Oct. 30, the chief deputy clerk of the court called her and asked her why. Lynch faxed a response that day and said her failure to respond earlier was “simply due to negligence.”
The court ordered Lynch to appear in person in Richmond on Jan. 7 for a show cause hearing, but she did not show up.
Yet another show cause order was issued for Lynch’s appearance in the court’s Chesapeake courtroom on Jan. 13. She appeared that day and apologized but “offered no explanation for her actions other than that her caseload was too heavy and that she failed to pay ‘proper attention’ to our orders,” the court said.
Although the suspension is indefinite, the court said in In Re: Anne Martson Lynch that Lynch could petition for reinstatement after three years if she presents evidence that she had completed CLE courses in “professionalism, appellate practice and time management, sufficient in the judgment of this Court, to address the problems identified herein.”
By Alan Cooper