ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN DISCIPLINE
Original proceeding in discipline.
This is an original uncontested proceeding in discipline filed by the Disciplinary Administrator against the respondent, Michael J. Waite, of Leavenworth, an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Kansas in 1978.
A panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys held a hearing on the formal complaint on September 12, 2006. The respondent appeared pro se. In its final hearing report, the panel found that respondent had violated Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct (KRPC) 1.5 (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 401) (fees), KRPC 1.15 (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 435) (safekeeping property), and KRPC 1.16 (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 448) (terminating representation), as well as Kansas Supreme Court Rule 211(b) (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 284) (failure to file an answer to the formal complaint). The panel recommended the imposition of a 1-year suspension from the practice of law. The respondent did not file exceptions to the final hearing report.
The complaint herein arises from a contract in professional services to be rendered by respondent to James Jay Wright. The contract provides as follows:
"This Agreement, made this 22nd day of May 2003, by and between JAMES JAY WHITE, hereinafter referred to as Client, and MICHAEL J. WAITE, Attorney at Law, hereinafter referred to as Attorney:
"WITNESSETH: That for and in consideration of the mutual promises herein made by the parties hereto, it is mutually agreed as follows:
"1. That client hereby employs and retains said Attorney to defend Client on one criminal case involving the charge of Murder in the Second Degree in the District Court of Leavenworth County, Kansas.
"2. Attorney hereby accepts said retainer and employment and agrees to render diligent and faithful service in the premises to the best advantage and interest of the Client.
"3. Client agrees to pay Attorney, for his services to be rendered pursuant to said employment, the sum of $10,000.00. Said fee to be paid as follows:
a). $1,000.00 down as partial retainer
b). $500.00 per month for eighteen (18) months until $9,000.00 balance is paid in full.
c). Said funds to be paid out of account # [account number deleted] Fort ...