Attorney Reprimanded for Allowing Legal Assistant to Perform Lawyer Tasks

This particular excerpt from a recent list of attorneys disciplined by The Florida Bar caught my eye (and you know why):

Constantine Kalogianis, 8141 Bellarus Way, Suite 103, Trinity, publicly reprimanded following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice 1993) Kalogianis is further directed to complete ethics school. Kalogianis failed to maintain communication with clients and failed to properly supervise his legal assistant who oftentimes performed tasks of a lawyer. Kalogianis also used a misleading firm name. By calling his company Kalogianis & Associates, it implied that more than one attorney worked at the firm, when in fact, he was a sole practitioner. (Case No. SC10-1739)

Of course, the first question that popped into my mind, and I hope yours is, “What the heck was his legal assistant doing?”

The Florida Supreme Court’s June 17, 2011 order isn’t enlightening, but the Report of Referee is, finding that Kalogianis employed a non-lawyer assistant whose job duties ranged from conducting client intakes alone to negotiating fee agreements and collecting fees. In several cases, the legal assistant appears to have done things either only a licensed attorney should do – or that nobody should do, including:

  • Give a client advice to protect a vehicle from bankruptcy.
  • Accept a check from the client payable to a towing business he had an interest in.
  • Meet the client on multiple occasions on behalf of the attorney, including at a travel agency the legal assistant owned. Of note, the legal assistant no longer worked for the attorney at the time of the last meeting.
  • Present and discuss fee agreements pre-signed by the attorney (without the attorney present).

To his credit, Kalogianis did enter into a conditional guilty plea with the Florida Bar. I’m glad he’s been ordered to go to ethics school, but it would have been even better if his former legal assistant had been ordered to go with him.

Source:  Jacksonville Daily Record

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