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In re Complaint as to Conduct of Klemp

Supreme Court of Oregon, En Banc

May 24, 2018

In re Complaint as to the Conduct of LISA D. T. KLEMP, OSB No. 040012, Respondent.

          Argued and submitted January 22, 2018.

          On review of the decision of a trial panel of the Disciplinary Board OSB 141-28, 15-01

          Nathan G. Steele, The Steele Law Firm, Bend, argued the cause and fled the briefs for respondent.

          Theodore W. Reuter, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, Oregon State Bar, Tigard, argued the cause and fled the brief for Oregon State Bar.

         Case Summary: Respondent was charged with violating the Rules of Professional Conduct in two separate matters that were consolidated for trial and decision. In the first matter, respondent was charged with violating RPC 1.16(d), for failing to surrender files to a client upon terminating her representation of the client. On de novo review by the Oregon Supreme Court, the primary issue was whether respondent could properly assert a lien on the files to secure payment of her fees when it was unclear whether she and her client had reached an agreement about how the fees would be calculated. In the second matter, respondent was charged with violating RPC 1.2(c) (assisting client in fraudulent or illegal conduct, RPC 4.3 (failing to disclose material fact when necessary to avoid assisting client in fraudulent or illegal conduct, and RPC 8.4(a)(3) (engaging in dishonest or fraudulent conduct), by using her legal skills to help her client divert money from his incapacitated wife's trust accounts. She also was charged with violating RPC 4.3 (failing to correct unrepresented person's misunderstanding about a lawyer's role in a legal matter) when she visited her client's wife in jail and persuaded her to sign a document designating her husband (respondent's client) as her attorney-in-fact. Held: Respondent violated RPC 4.3 and a public reprimand is the proper sanction for that violation.

         [363 Or. 63] PER CURIAM

         In two separate lawyer discipline matters, the Oregon State Bar charged respondent with violating various Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs) in her dealings with two different clients, Boyce and Andrach. In the first matter, the Bar alleged that respondent failed to protect Boyce's interests upon terminating her representation of Boyce, RCP 1.16(d), by refusing to surrender documents belonging to the client until her fees were paid. In the second matter, the Bar alleged that, in taking certain actions, respondent assisted Andrach in diverting money from his incapacitated wife's trust account, thereby violating RPC 1.2(c) (assisting client in conduct the lawyer knows to be illegal or fraudulent); RPC 4.1(b) (failing to disclose a material fact when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting an illegal or fraudulent act by a client; and RPC 8.4(a)(3) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation). The Bar also alleged that, in her efforts to obtain the wife's signature on a document giving Andrach power of attorney to manage the wife's financial affairs, respondent violated RCP 4.3 (failing to correct unrepresented person's misunderstanding about a lawyer's role in a matter).

         After hearing evidence and argument on the two matters, the trial panel issued a divided decision. A two-member majority concluded that respondent had violated RPC 1.16(d), 1.2(c), 4.3, and 8.4(a)(3), and that the appropriate sanction was disbarment. The single dissenting member opined that the Bar had failed to prove any of the charges and that the complaint should be dismissed. On de novo review, we conclude that the Bar proved a violation of RPC 4.3 (failing to correct unrepresented person's misunderstanding about lawyer's role in a matter) but failed to prove the other charged violations by the requisite clear and convincing evidence standard. We further conclude that the appropriate sanction for the violation of RPC 4.3 is a public reprimand.

         I. FACTUAL OVERVIEW

         We consider and decide the two matters separately, but before we do so, we provide some general facts that are relevant to both matters. In our analysis of each matter, we [363 Or. 64] discuss those facts and additional facts that we provide at that juncture.

         In June 2012, respondent was working for a Bend-area law firm, Bryant, Emerson and Fitch, when a local man, Andrach, sought help from the firm in defending a lawsuit against him and his wife, Wells. The lawsuit had been brought by Exchange Properties, which owned a building that Wells and Andrach had leased for Wells's antique business, and alleged that Wells and Andrach breached their lease. At some point after that lawsuit was filed, Wells was charged with and ultimately convicted of a number of serious crimes in connection with a drunk driving incident, and she absconded to California before she could be sentenced for those crimes. Andrach thus was left to deal with the Exchange Properties litigation on his own.

         Wells's absence also left Andrach to manage his wife's self-settled trust, the Wells Trust, which had been the couple's primary source of income over the years of their marriage. Wells was the sole beneficiary of the trust, which owned and generated income from rental properties. Although Wells also was the trustee of the trust, Andrach was identified in the trust documents as her successor trustee: If Wells herself was unable to serve as trustee, Andrach was supposed to step in and manage the trust, but solely for Wells's benefit. Other than that eventuality, Andrach had no legal rights or involvement in Wells's money or property; Wells maintained separate bank and credit accounts, and a prenuptial agreement provided that any property owned or acquired by Wells would remain hers alone.[1] However, in May 2012, before absconding to California, Wells had signed a power of attorney in favor of Andrach, and he used that power of attorney to pay the trust's expenses out of Wells's bank and credit accounts.

         That is how matters stood in June 2012, when Andrach sought help from respondent's law firm in the Exchange Properties litigation. Respondent did not work on the Exchange Properties litigation, which was handled by [363 Or. 65] one of the firms named partners, Bryant.[2] However, respondent did agree to represent Andrach in a separate matter-a petition to have his personal debts discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.[3]

         While Andrach's bankruptcy petition was pending, respondent left the Bryant, Emerson and Fitch firm and set up as a sole practitioner. Respondent shared office space with Boyce, a woman who previously had worked at Bryant, Emerson and Fitch as a paralegal.[4] In the early days of that office-sharing arrangement, Boyce sought respondent's assistance in a legal matter relating to the care that her parents had received at a nursing home, and respondent agreed to look into the matter. Boyce gave respondent a binder of documents that she thought were relevant to the matter, and respondent and her legal assistant, Nichols, started to research possible claims.

         In August 2012, Wells returned to Oregon and immediately instructed her bank that she would resume control of her accounts. Soon thereafter, however, she was arrested and jailed in connection with her criminal convictions. Perhaps believing that Wells's instructions to her bank had affected the power of attorney that Wells had granted him in May 2012, Andrach retained respondent to obtain a new power of attorney from Wells. After multiple visits to Wells at the jail, respondent succeeded in obtaining Wells's signature on a document, dated September 19, 2012, naming Andrach as her attorney-in-fact.

         Wells had a long history of mental illness and substance abuse and, while in jail awaiting sentencing, had [363 Or. 66] appeared to be incapable of making rational decisions about the Exchange Properties litigation or her own health. On September 27, 2012, Andrach filed a petition for appointment of a guardian for Wells. A circuit court judge granted that petition on November 1, 2012, declaring Wells to be incapacitated and naming a longtime friend of Wells, Defoe, as temporary guardian and guardian ad litem in the Exchange Properties litigation.[5] Upon the court's declaration of Wells's incapacity, Andrach understood that he had succeeded to the role of trustee under the terms of the Wells Trust. Thus, as of November 1, 2012, Andrach was holding himself out as both the trustee of the Wells Trust and Wells's attorney-in-fact under the power-of-attorney document that he had obtained in September 2012.

         In November 2012, Andrach and respondent became involved in an intimate relationship. By March 2013, respondent was pregnant with Andrach's child. On March 5, 2013, respondent filed articles of incorporation to form a company, TLA Properties LLC, identifying herself and Andrach as the only members. On April 1, 2013, TLA Properties purchased a house, which became respondent's and Andrach's shared residence. Andrach contributed $65, 000 to the $80, 000 down payment. The $65, 000 apparently came out of a $100, 000 check that Andrach's mother-in-law (and Wells's mother), Robertson, had sent to Andrach the preceding Christmas, along with instructions to spend it on Wells's legal fees and the mortgage and property taxes on a house that Wells had purchased in California.

         In the meantime, Defoe had resigned as Wells's temporary guardian and guardian ad litem, and Andrach petitioned the court to have respondent's officemate, Boyce, appointed to replace Defoe on a permanent basis (Wells, by that point, was serving the prison sentence that had been imposed for her criminal convictions). On March 22, 2013, the court issued a stipulated order appointing Boyce as Wells's permanent guardian ad litem (but not as her [363 Or. 67] guardian).[6] Boyce thereafter undertook to make decisions on Wells's behalf in the Exchange Properties litigation and also, apparently, in some additional financial matters. Andrach continued to serve as Wells's successor trustee and attorney-in-fact.

         At around that time, Andrach was considering divorcing Wells and had decided to seek reimbursement from the Wells Trust for money that he claimed to have expended in the preceding months in support of Wells and management of the trust. As Wells's purported guardian, Boyce apparently agreed that Andrach should be repaid the sum of $53, 000 and that that payment should be made by selling a property in the Wells Trust portfolio.[7] Respondent drafted a promissory note from the Wells Trust to Andrach for $53, 000 and a trust deed in Andrach's favor on the trust property. However, before the contemplated sale could occur, Boyce had a falling-out with Andrach and respondent.

         One result of that falling out was that respondent terminated her representation of Boyce in the contemplated action against the nursing home. After receiving notice that respondent had decided to end her involvement in the nursing home matter, Boyce sought return of the binder of documents that she had given to respondent. Respondent refused to return the binder, asserting that, under ORS 87.430, [8] she had a lien on the documents to secure Boyce's payment of her fees for the work she had performed on the case. Boyce denied that any fees were owed and brought an action against respondent alleging conversion and other claims. Boyce also complained to the Bar about respondent's retention of the binder, and the Bar opened an investigation into the matter. Ultimately, the Bar filed a formal complaint charging respondent with violating RPC 1.16(d) by failing, upon termination of representation of a client, to surrender papers and property to which the client was entitled.

         [363 Or. 68] Another result of the falling-out was that Boyce sought to oust Andrach from his positions as Wells's successor trustee and attorney-in-fact, first by obtaining documents from Wells naming Boyce to those positions in Andrach's stead, and later by assisting Wells's sister, Jordan, in Jordan's efforts to replace Andrach. Boyce also sought to distance herself from the contemplated sale of trust property to reimburse Andrach for the $53, 000 in expenditures and suggested to Jordan that Andrach's actions in that matter were fraudulent. Andrach eventually ceded his authorities as trustee and attorney-in-fact to Jordan, but, before he did so, he wrote a check for $9, 500 on Wells's line of credit and revised a lease with a tenant of Wells's so that Andrach, rather than Wells, was named as the lessor.

         Wells and Jordan considered Andrach's actions to be fraudulent, and their concerns had a number of repercussions. Wells filed for dissolution of her marriage to Andrach, and Andrach's alleged fraud was an issue in that proceeding.[9] However, a settlement was reached, and no determination of fraud was ever made. Second, Jordan, her lawyer, and Wells's dissolution lawyers all filed Bar complaints against respondent, alleging that respondent had assisted Andrach in his purportedly fraudulent acts. After an investigation, the Bar charged respondent in a formal complaint with violating RPC 4.3 (failing to clarify lawyer's role to unrepresented person) in her dealings with Wells regarding the power of attorney and with violating RPC 1.2(c) (assisting client in conduct that lawyer knows is illegal or fraudulent), RPC 4.1(b) (failing to disclose material fact when doing so is necessary to avoid assisting client in fraud), and RPC 8.4 (a)(3) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or representation) in various actions on Andrach's behalf. The Wells/Andrach matter and the Boyce matter were tried together.

         [363 Or. 69] II. THE TRIAL PANEL DECISION AND THE PARTIES' ARGUMENTS

         As noted, the trial panel issued a split decision. In the Boyce matter, a majority of the panel opined that Boyce and respondent had never reached any agreement about fees and that, in the absence of such an agreement, respondent was owed no money and had no basis under ORS 87.430 for withholding Boyce's documents. Because respondent had no lawful basis for withholding Boyce's documents, the majority concluded, respondent necessarily violated RPC 1.16(d) when she did so. The majority rejected respondent's contention that she had a lien on the papers for purposes of ORS 87.430 based on money that Boyce owed her on a quantum meruit theory, finding that there was no evidence of what the fair value of her work might have been-a necessary component of a quantum meruit claim.

         In the Wells/Andrach matter, the majority first concluded that respondent had violated RPC 4.3 (engaging in improper communication with a person who is not represented by counsel) while attempting to obtain a power of attorney for Andrach from Wells. The majority then concluded that respondent had violated RPC 1.2(c) (assisting a client in conduct that the lawyer knows is illegal or fraudulent) by preparing the promissory note and trust deed that Andrach had attempted to enforce against property in the Wells Trust, defending the $9, 500 check that Andrach had written on Wells's line of credit, and assisting him by drafting a lease revision that effectively directed a tenant's monthly rents to Andrach, rather than Wells. Finally, the majority found that respondent had violated RPC 8.4(a)(3)[10] (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation) by "assisting Andrach in draining and attempting to drain Wells's individual assets and trust assets"-referring, again, to respondent's conduct with regard to the trust deed, the $9, 500 check, and the lease. The majority recommended that respondent be disbarred.

         [363 Or. 70] The dissenting member of the trial panel concluded that respondent had not committed of any of the charged disciplinary violations. In the Boyce matter, he concluded that respondent was entitled to be compensated for her work under a quantum meruit theory and therefore was entitled to retain Boyce's papers under ORS 87.430. In the Wells/ Andrach matter, the dissent first opined that respondent had not violated RPC 4.3 in her attempts to obtain a power of attorney from Wells because the evidence before the trial panel would not permit a finding that respondent had misled Wells or given her legal advice. As to the remaining charges in the Wells/Andrach complaint, the dissent emphasized that the Bar was required to show that respondent had knowledge that her own actions or those of her client were fraudulent or illegal, and must do so by the applicable clear and convincing evidence standard. The dissent asserted that the Bar had not met that standard.

         On review, respondent focuses on the majority opinion, challenging each of its determinations of violation on the ground that it was not supported by the evidence before the trial panel. With respect to some of the majority's determinations of violation, respondent also argues that the determination was erroneous because it was based on facts and theories that were not pleaded by the Bar. The Bar generally argues that it properly pleaded and proved each of the violations identified by the majority.

         III. ANALYSIS

         In light of the sparsity of detailed factual findings and analysis in the trial panel opinions and the panel's failure to reach unanimity, we choose not to focus, as respondent does, on the majority opinion. We consider the allegations in the Bar's complaint and determine on de novo review whether the Bar proved those allegations by clear and convincing evidence. ORS 9.536(2); BR 10.6. In weighing the parties' arguments on those matters, we remain mindful that the Bar's complaint must sufficiently allege the conduct that constitutes any violation that is found. See, e.g., In re Ellis/Rosenbaum, 356 Or. 691, 738-39, 344 P.3d 425 (2015) (so stating); In re Magar, 296 Or. 799, 806 n 3, 681 P.2d 93');">681 P.2d 93 [363 Or. 71] (1984) (same); In re Lasswell, 296 Or. 121, 128, 673 P.2d 855 (1983) (same); see also BR 4.1(c) (Bar's complaint must "set forth succinctly the acts or omissions of [respondent] * * * so as to enable [respondent] to know the nature of the charge or charges against [respondent].").

         A. The Boyce Matter

         In the Boyce matter, the Bar charged respondent with violating RPC 1.16(d) by refusing to return documents belonging to her officemate, Boyce, upon ending her representation of Boyce. The following additional facts are relevant to that charge.

         In November 2012, Boyce asked respondent to attend a meeting that she had scheduled with representatives of the nursing home where her mother had died regarding her mother's treatment at the facility. Respondent agreed to attend the meeting and to investigate potential claims that Boyce might have against the nursing home. Respondent and Boyce did not then or at any time thereafter enter into a written fee agreement, and there does not appear to have been any clear meeting of the minds on the issue of how respondent would be paid. Boyce insisted that there was an agreement that respondent would be paid only on a contingency basis; respondent countered that there was an initial understanding that she would be paid on an hourly basis for preliminary work and a subsequent discussion of some kind of hybrid contingency/hours-based arrangement, but never any agreement as to specific terms.

         After the meeting, Boyce provided respondent with a large binder that contained both her parents' medical and nursing home records. Over the next five months, respondent spent some 20 hours reviewing the records in the binder, performing legal research, and outlining potential claims against the nursing home, including a wrongful death claim. She kept records of the hours that she and her assistant, Nichols, spent on the case and directed her bookkeeper, Fryer, to send monthly invoices that reflected those hours, as well as her hourly rate, to Boyce. Fryer believed that respondent had taken the case on a contingency basis and had a notation in her files to that effect.

         [363 Or. 72] In May 2013, Boyce and respondent had a falling out and, on May 30, 2013, respondent terminated her representation of Boyce by letter. In the letter, respondent instructed Boyce that she could pick up the records that she had supplied to respondent for review (i.e., the large binder) at her convenience. However, in a second letter to Boyce, respondent stated that she would release the binder only after Boyce paid her attorney fees. The letter stated that the fees owed by Boyce amounted to $4, 252.50, an amount that was explained in an enclosed invoice that showed the hours that respondent had worked on the case at her hourly rate of $225. But the letter also contained a statement: "As you know, I had undertaken representation on a contingency fee basis."

         Boyce hired a new attorney to represent her in her contemplated action against the nursing home who wrote to respondent on Boyce's behalf, stating that the records were needed for the nursing home litigation and demanding their return. Respondent insisted, however, that, under ORS 87.430, she had a valid attorney fee lien on the binder for the work that she had performed and would not return the binder until the lien was satisfied. In September 2013, Boyce filed a Bar complaint about respondent's retention of the binder, and the Bar opened an investigation into the matter. At around the same time, Boyce brought an action against respondent alleging conversion and other claims, and respondent counterclaimed, seeking reimbursement for the time that she had spent on Boyce's case and for Boyce's share of the rent on their office, which Boyce had precipitously abandoned. The parties apparently settled those claims, with Boyce paying respondent $10, 000, and respondent returning Boyce's records. After completing the investigation that had been triggered by Boyce's complaint, the Bar filed a formal complaint charging respondent with violating RPC 1.16(d) by failing, upon termination of representation of a client, to surrender papers and property to which the client was entitled.

         RPC 1.16(d) provides:

"Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect [363 Or. 73] a client s interests, sum as giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refunding any advance payment of fee or expense that has not been earned or incurred. The lawyer may retain papers, personal property and money of the client to the extent permitted by other law!'

(Emphasis added.) The "other law" that might justify respondent's retention of Boyce's binder in this case is ORS 87.430, which provides:

"An attorney has a lien for compensation whether specially agreed upon or implied, upon all papers, personal property and money of the client for services rendered to the client. The attorney may retain the papers, personal property and money until the lien created by this section, and the claim based thereon, is satisfied, and the attorney may apply the money retained to the satisfaction of the lien and claim."

         Although the Bar made other arguments to the trial panel with regard to this asserted violation, [11] the primary issue before this court is whether respondent had a legitimate lien for attorney fees under ORS 87.430 that justified her retention of Boyce's binder of records. With regard to that issue, the Bar alleged that respondent had agreed to represent Boyce on a contingent fee basis but did not obtain a written fee agreement. The Bar further alleged that, upon terminating her representation of Boyce, respondent had confirmed the contingency arrangement but then announced that she was asserting a lien on the records based on the hours that she spent on the case at her hourly rate. Finally, the Bar alleged that, under the described circumstances, respondent had no right to assert a lien and, therefore, no justification for refusing to return Boyce's records as required by RPC 1.16(d).

         In response to those allegations, respondent sought to prove that, although she and Boyce had never reached [363 Or. 74] any clear agreement about her fees, Boyce had understood that respondent expected to be paid for her time and that respondent had rendered services to Boyce that had value. Under those circumstances, respondent argued, she could assert a lien for the reasonable value of her services under a quantum meruit theory. The Bar argued, and continues to argue, that quantum meruit is not a proper basis for asserting a lien under ORS 87.430 and that, in any event, the evidence in the record is insufficient to support a right to fees on a quantum meruit theory.

         The evidence as a whole does not support the Bar's allegation that respondent and Boyce entered into of a contingency fee agreement, written or oral. Although Boyce testified that respondent agreed to represent her on a contingent basis and the evidence shows that respondent mentioned a contingency fee arrangement in her termination letter to Boyce and that respondent's bookkeeper made a note in her records of Boyce's account about a contingency fee arrangement, there is no evidence that the parties reached agreement on the terms of such an arrangement. It appears, instead, that a contingency fee agreement was discussed but never finalized. By the same token, there is no evidence that the parties reached an agreement that respondent would be paid on an hourly basis or at the $225 rate that respondent billed Boyce. It is clear, however, that Boyce asked respondent to help her with her case, that respondent performed some work, and that Boyce received the benefit of that work.

         Respondent contends that those facts entitle her to reasonable compensation under a quantum meruit theory and that, under ORS 87.430, if she is entitled to compensation, she is entitled to a lien. Accordingly, we must consider whether respondent was entitled to compensation from Boyce, based on the reasonable value of the services that she performed. As explained in commentary to section 31 of the Restatement (Third) of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment (2011), [12] a quantum meruit claim "typically [363 Or. 75] seeks compensation for services rendered in the expectation of payment, but in the absence of explicit agreement as to amount." Restatement (Third) of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment § 31 comment e (2011). Depending on the circumstances, a quantum meruit claim may proceed on one of two theories. In appropriate cases, a court may find that the person receiving the services impliedly promised to compensate the person providing the services at the customary or "going rate" for such services. In those cases, in which the promise to pay is "implied in fact, " the action retains a contractual character. Id. In other cases, the court may be unable to find an implied promise to pay but will impose an obligation to pay a reasonable price on a party who has requested and received the services of another, "as necessary to prevent unjust enrichment." Id. Although those latter cases are quasi-contractual rather than contractual in character, they generally are described in terms of an implied contract, albeit one that is "implied in law." Judy Beckner Sloan, Quantum Meruit Residual Equity in Law, 42 DePaul L Rev 399, 407-08 (1992).

         This court has recognized that distinction between contracts that are "implied in law" and contracts "implied in fact." Larisa's Home Care, LLC v. Nichols-Shields, 362 Or. 115, 128-129 n5, 404 P.3d 912 (2017). It is an agreement that is "implied in fact" that is at issue here. Persons who request services from another may be liable on a quantum meruit basis for the reasonable value of those services, based on an implied promise to pay for those services. See, e.g., Bastion v. Henderson, 277 Or. 539, 545, 561 P.2d 595 (1977) ("[O]ne who requests another to provide beneficial work, labor and materials impliedly promises to pay the reasonable value of such work, labor and materials."); Cronn v. Fisher, 245 Or. 407, 416, 422 P.2d 276 (1966) (where one person requests that another person perform beneficial services for him, the law, in the absence of any express contract, will "imply a promise * * * to pay for [those services] what they were reasonably worth"); McKee v. Capitol Dairies, 164 Or. 1, 7, 99 P.2d 1013 (1940) (same). Respondent's work for Boyce would seem to fall within the rule, as articulated in those cases: The evidence shows that Boyce requested respondent's services and that, although there was no clear agreement with [363 Or. 76] regard to her fees, respondent performed the requested services.

         The Bar contends that, assuming that respondent had a claim for attorney fees from Boyce based on a quantum meruit theory, she could not assert a lien under ORS 87.430 against Boyce's documents on the basis of that claim. That is so, the Bar argues, because ORS 87.430 applies when there is either an express or implied agreement for payment, and quantum meruit-based claims are not grounded in an agreement but, instead, on a right to restitution to prevent unjust enrichment. The Bar does not argue that an implied in fact promise to pay is insufficient to permit a lien under ORS 87.430 and conclude that a lawyer who demonstrates an implied promise to pay the reasonable value of services rendered may assert a right to a lien under ORS 87.430.

         The Bar argues that, even if, in theory, an attorney may assert a lien for attorney fees under ORS 87.430 based on quantum meruit, respondent had no legitimate basis for doing so here because she did not perform services that actually conferred a benefit on Boyce. In support of that argument, the Bar points to respondent's testimony that she "did very little work [on Boyce's case] at the outset" and that she did not "really analyze [] the wrongful death claim." The Bar also notes that, although respondent invoiced Boyce for working on drafting a complaint, she apparently did not produce a complaint. But, in fact, there is substantial evidence that respondent did perform services that benefitted Boyce: (1) exhibits showing monthly invoices that respondent directed to Boyce, which detailed the hours that she had spent "outlin[ing] claims, " "reviewing] rules and regulations, " "draft[ing a] complaint, " "reviewing] medical records, " and "researching] elder abuse, " all to advance Boyce's case against the nursing home; (2) testimony by respondent about attending a meeting with nursing home representatives, reviewing Boyce's parents' records and the relevant law to determine if Boyce had any claims against the nursing home, and beginning to draft a complaint; and (3) Boyce's own testimony that respondent had attended a meeting with the nursing home's representatives and had discussed the merits of potential claims against the nursing home with her-discussions that Boyce acknowledged [363 Or. 77] "g[a]ve [her] value." Considering the totality of the evidence, we conclude that the legal services for which respondent claimed a right to compensation in fact did benefit Boyce. Although there may be grounds to dispute the amount that respondent claimed as ...


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