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DECISIONS DECISIONS n LEGAL PROFESSION upholding the six-month, one-day suspension of a law firm managing partner, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled on May 2 that under the Delaware Rules of Professional Conduct, a managing partner has enhanced duties to the other lawyers and employees at the firm to ensure the law firm’s compliance with its record-keeping and tax obligations. In the Matter of a Member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of Delaware: James F. Bailey Jr., No. 334, 2002. Bailey, managing partner at Wilmington, Del.’s Bailey & Wetzel, was responsible for maintenance of the firm’s books and records, payment of taxes and supervision of employees carrying out these tasks. Audits of the firm’s books revealed escrow and operating account discrepancies and failures to meet tax obligations. During proceedings against him, Bailey and the office of disciplinary counsel stipulated to nine counts and a recommendation that Bailey be publicly reprimanded and subjected to three years’ probation. After three separate hearings, the board of professional responsibility rejected the stipulation and recommended that Bailey be suspended for six months and a day and that he be kept on probation for three years. The Supreme Court affirmed, concluding that there was clear and convincing evidence to support the board’s finding that Bailey knowingly failed to discharge his responsibilities as managing partner. Noting that its definition of that duty was a matter of first impression, the court said, “[a]lthough a managing partner cannot guarantee absolutely the integrity of the firm’s books and records, it is the managing partner’s responsibility to implement reasonable safeguards to ensure that the firm is meeting its obligations with respect to its books and records.”

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