Attorney: Camille E. Hill
Location: Wake County
Bar membership: Since 2016
Disciplinary action: 1-year suspension
Defendant was found guilty of accepting funds after leaving a firm. The defendant was an associate attorney at the Neumann Law Firm where she practiced family and criminal law. On July 9, 2020, the defendant gave Neumann Law Firm oral notice that she would be resigning her employment effective July 24, 2020, to accept a job at an insurance defense law firm.
At the end of December 2019, the defendant was working on a personal injury case (the ”Miracle case”). On June 18, 2020, the opposing insurance company in the Miracle case accepted a settlement demand that the defendant made on Miracle’s behalf.
On July 16, 2020, Defendant called Miracle and discussed referring Miracle’s case to an attorney at the Sheffron Law Firm as. Due to her new job, the defendant would not be handling that type of case. The defendant failed to inform Miracle that they could keep her case with the Neumann Law Firm. Before telling Miracle that her case needed to be referred to, the defendant did not consult with the Neumann Law Finn about who would be taking over her caseload or whether the firm would continue to be able to receive and disburse Miracle’s settlement check appropriately. The defendant failed to promptly inform her client of any decision or circumstance which her client’s informed consent is required by the Rules of Professional Conduct in violation of Rule 1.4(a). By failing to obtain in writing Miracle’s agreement to the proposed division of attorney’s fees between herself, the Neumann Law Firm, and the Sheffron Law Firm, the defendant engaged in the improper division of fees between lawyers who are not in the same firm in violation of Rule 1.5(e).
The defendant also failed to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit her client to make informed decisions regarding the representation in violation of Rule l.4(b) and engaged in conduct involving misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(c). By making misrepresentations to the State Bar Investigator during the investigation and litigation the respondent engaged in conduct involving misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(c). By individually making an agreement for and individually collecting a portion of the attorney fees from the Miracle case, despite not working on the case after July 16, 2020 when she was still working as an employee of the Neumann Law Finn, Defendant collected a clearly excessive fee, in violation of Rule l.5(a).
Defendant was not entitled to any portion of the fee she retained in the Miracle matter, which was paid after Defendant left the Neumann Law Firm. Instead, the fee from the Miracle matter that Defendant retained belonged to the Neumann Law Firm.