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Lawyers have all sorts of billing arrangements with clients, but the Georgia Supreme Court has decided that a Marietta attorney’s methods were so bad that he should be disbarred. Bobby Glenn Adkins Jr. charged clients for the time he spent defending himself from grievances they filed against him with the State Bar of Georgia’s discipline authorities, according to the high court’s March 1 ruling. In a telephone interview, Adkins denied the allegations, saying, “All I was trying to do was get paid for what I’d earned.” In one case, the justices reported in their unsigned decision, Adkins agreed to prepare a trust for an elderly couple for $650. But two months later, Adkins invoiced the couple for an additional $40. When the couple’s son disputed the amount, “Adkins began sending threatening letters stating that he would sue the couple and seek to foreclose on their home, even though he later testified that he had no intention of taking either action,” the court said. After the son filed a grievance with the bar, Adkins sent more threatening letters, sued the son for defamation and sent the couple an invoice for $370, according to the decision. “Although the invoice indicated the bill was for legal services, the additional charge was actually for Adkins’ time in responding to the bar complaint and in drafting the lawsuit against the couple’s son,” the decision stated. Adkins said the client was charged by mistake, and when he discovered the mistake, the charge was written off. The court agreed with bar authorities that Adkins’ conduct in that case and two others — in which Adkins billed clients at least $600 for his time responding to their bar grievances — amounted to violations of rules against lawyers’ engaging in “professional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” In all three cases, Adkins denied that he charged clients for his time responding to their bar complaints, saying, “Nobody was ever deceived.” Adkins, a graduate of Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis and a 1993 inductee into the Georgia Bar, said that until his disbarment, he had a clean discipline record. He represented himself in his discipline matter. He said bar authorities proposed a plea agreement of sorts in which he would have admitted to illegal conduct and been subjected to a reprimand by the bar’s ethics review panel. Adkins refused, he said, because he doesn’t think he did anything wrong: “I wouldn’t capitulate to their draconian demands.” Bar General Counsel William P. Smith III and Elizabeth M. Williamson prosecuted the case. Williamson could not be reached to confirm the bar’s plea offer. Senior Assistant General Counsel Jenny K. Mittelman said they could not discuss the case while Adkins still had time to ask the court to reconsider. This article originally appeared in the Fulton County Daily Report , a publication of American Lawyer Media.

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