Attorneys are known for and relied upon to keep their clients within the confines of the law and ethically balanced while guiding them toward the best possible outcome in difficult situations. But who keeps the lawyers in line?
In Michigan that responsibility falls to the Attorney Grievance Commission, and for the first time in 14 years, that body is looking for a new leader.
The Michigan Supreme Court, which appoints the nine member panel, announced earlier this month that it dismissed Commission Administrator Robert Agacinski in order to improve operations at the Detroit-based entity, without elaborating, the Detroit Free Press reported.
State law allows the court to fire the administrator at anytime without announcing cause. Long-time Deputy Administrator Robert Edick will oversee day-to-day operations until an interim administrator is named, and current Commission Chairwoman Barbara Smith, of Bingham Farms, remains in her post until her term expires in October.
Agacinski, a Detroit native, has a legal career spanning four decades, including a stint as deputy chief prosecutor in Wayne County, according to his biography at the Thomas Cooley M. Law School, where he is a member of the Professionalism Committee. Among his duties with the commission were the investigation and prosecution of alleged misconduct by attorneys across the state.The prosecutorial arm of the Michigan Supreme Court receives roughly 3,300 to 4,000 requests for investigation annually about Michigan attorneys, and nearly ten percent of them result in formal charges. He also supervised the preparation and presentation of cases before the Hearing Panels appointed by the Attorney Discipline Board.
Despite the Supreme Court’s assertion that the change was necessary to help operations, Smith told the Associated Press she did not believe the processing of claims was too slow. Agacinski’s staff was also tasked with producing an annual report, however the last one available is from 2009, according to the AGC website.