Sandra H. Gardner, Esq.: Attorney is off base
To the editor:
This letter is offered as a commentary to your article published in the Friday, Oct. 21 edition of the Craig Daily Press concerning Heather Turner. But for several of Ms. Turner’s direct quotes contained in the article, I would not feel it necessary to send this letter to you today. However, as a practicing attorney in the Fourteenth Judicial District (which comprises Grand, Routt and Moffat counties), I find it extremely unfortunate and unfair of Turner to blame her financial woes, in part, on clients’ bounced checks and her decision to serve some indigent clients for reduced or no fees.
The Rules of Professional Conduct encourage attorneys to aspire to rendering at least fifty hours of pro bono (noncompensated) public legal service per year. In fact, the oath that attorneys take upon admittance to the Bar states, in part, that a lawyer will never “reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed.” Many of my professional colleagues, who practice in the Fourteenth Judicial District, contribute 50 hours of noncompensated legal services per year, plus more in the form of reduced-fee work including court appointments. As a young attorney in the early to mid-1990s, I actually established my practice through court-appointed work and continue to receive court appointments on a regular basis in addition to performing more than 100 hours of pro bono service a year. However, neither my colleagues nor I appear to have experienced the magnitude of financial problems which Turner has encountered associated with her practice and as cited in your article.
Your article also cites a portion of a letter that apparently Turner went to Country Living Realty stating: “A client in your lovely town bounced … a check to me.” I must assume that “[the] lovely town” was a reference to Craig, and it does not appear to be a favorable reference. Turner’s apparent discontent (perhaps contempt) for Craig is that of one person only. I do not believe that she speaks for other professionals and more specifically, other attorneys. In 2001, my husband and I moved our home and my law practice to Craig and have not regretted our decision. The communities of Craig and of Moffat County have been very kind to me; my clients have reposed their trust in me; and each day I endeavor to honor this trust.
Sandra H. Gardner, Esq.
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