"Need a tough, experienced attorney to protect your future and your freedom?" If so, and Jeffrey Phillips of Phillips and Associates TV-ad fame is your attorney of choice, you might have to wait about half a year.
The Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court handed down a recommendation to suspend Phillips and his "associate" Robert Arentz for six months and one day, followed by two years of probation.
The recommendation stems from a the state bar association's claim that Phillips and his associates failed to supervise their employees well enough to comply with Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct.
Phillips says he is disappointed but not surprised by the recommendation and that the initial complaint, filed with the State Bar Association back in 2002, was the result of some dissatisfied clients.
"In a two- or three-year period, our firm handled about 33,000 cases, and only 21 people had a problem with how we represented them," Phillips says. "You just don't win every case, and people get upset about that."
Phillips says some of the 21 clients even wanted their money back, and in most cases, his firm was happy to give it back.
According to court documents, Phillips and Arentz could have received a recommendation for disbarrment but the commission felt that the six-month suspensions would be more appropriate.
The most important question, of course, is whether Phillips and Associates will be able to continue running those horrible TV ads if the Supreme Court accepts the recommendation. Thankfully, according to the folks at the State Bar Association, the answer is no.
Phillips says that if he is legally unable to throw on that shiny suit, slick back his hair, and spit some tough-guy lawyer talk to woo the likes of drunk drivers, somebody else in his firm will take over.
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