An Upstate attorney from Greenwood has been suspended from practicing law for a year following a state Supreme Court order.
Lance Sheek, who practiced law in Greenville County, previously served as an assistant solicitor with the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office and practiced law in Greenwood. In a state Supreme Court opinion filed Wednesday, the justices suspended Sheek from practicing law for a year and required him to pay the costs incurred by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and Commission on Lawyer Conduct for investigating and prosecuting the matter.
The disciplinary complaint came from two cases before the state Court of Appeals that “demonstrated a lack of competence to handle appellate cases, a consistent failure to adhere to the SCACR, and repeated failure to comply with the court of appeals’ order and directives from the Clerk of the court of appeals.”
In the first case, the clerk notified Sheek on Oct. 1, 2010 that his legal brief didn’t comply with a rule, and gave him 10 days to fix it, the order said. He failed to respond or fix the issue, and did not respond to a follow-up message.
On Nov. 19, 2010, the clerk wrote to him again about an issue in the supplemental record, and he did not respond or fix it within seven days. In February 2011, with no response from Sheek, the clerk wrote to him again.
“In addition to requesting compliance with the previous letters and order within seven days, the Clerk notified (Sheek) that he had not yet filed a certificate of counsel for the record or supplemental record,” the order said.
Nine days later, with no word from Sheek, the clerk gave him seven more days to comply. The appeal was dismissed on March 18, 2011. Sheek filed a motion to reinstate appeal on April 5, 2011. The court said it would consider his motion if he complied with the prior order, and the appeal was reinstated on May 13, 2011.
On June 8, 2011 the clerk again wrote to Sheek about deficiencies in his filings, and 12 days later he filed a request for an extension. The court granted the extension, but on Oct. 11, 2011 the court dismissed the appeal after hearing nothing from Sheek since his request for an extension.
The appeal was reinstated Jan. 11, 2013, after he complied with the court’s orders and directives. He was again asked to fix several deficiencies, and after getting no response again, the court dismissed the appeal Feb. 20, 2013.
In a second matter, opposing counsel filed a motion to dismiss an appeal Sheek filed because of failure to timely serve an initial brief, and that he filed a legal brief before ordering a transcript.
“Respondent filed a return, in which he admitted he had not ordered the transcript at the time the brief was filed but claimed he had mistakenly ordered the transcript from the wrong court reporter and had corrected his error and ordered the transcript from the correct court reporter,” the order said.
Opposing counsel filed a reply indicating Sheek misrepresented to the court the true status of the transcript and appeal. Correspondence from the court reporter showed Sheek had been in contact with the right court reporter since December 2011 and did not order the transcript until after he filed his return to the motion to dismiss.
The court of appeals dismissed the appeal in September 2012, citing Sheek’s failure to order the transcript on time, his misrepresentations about the transcript and failure to serve opposing counsel with the initial brief.
The court order suspended Sheek from practicing law for a year, and required him to pay the costs incurred in the investigation and prosecution of this matter. The order referenced a prior public reprimand Sheek received from the state Supreme Court in 2012 over multiple matters, including failing to timely file records or respond to court inquiries and not appearing for a meeting.
Sheek could not be reached for comment Wednesday.