“Excessive Informality” in Lawyer’s Practice Draws Warning from Board of Bar Overseers

ELLSWORTH — Take a family feud in a tight-knit island community.

Add a car perched on a stone wall during an unscheduled real estate closing.

Stir in conflicting memories about whether a wharf was included in the real estate sold and a harried lawyer with a pregnant paralegal and indifferent typing skills.

Combine ingredients and let simmer and you have the recipe for a stew that led the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar to issue a mild warning to Ellsworth attorney Steven Juskewitch on Friday to improve the way he runs his office.

The overseers informed Juskewitch on Sept. 2 that he has a duty “to determine the actual state of affairs before communicating information to clients.”

“Improving your office practices with respect to documentation of client engagements … and communications with office staff, could substantially assist you in meeting that duty,” the statement continued.

According to the overseers’ report, the disciplinary proceeding arose out of a July 2008 sale by Daniel Lunt and his wife, Linda, of property they owned on Frenchboro to their son, Zachery Lunt, and his wife, Laurette.

A “House Sale Agreement” prepared without a lawyer’s help called for a “final closing for this house” at Juskewitch’s office on the morning July 24, 2008.

Juskewitch denied ever seeing the agreement before the closing. Nor did he know the Lunts would show up July 24 expecting to have a closing.

According to the overseers, the sellers “were under significant pressure to leave the island community” for what the board called “personal and financial reasons.”

The aspiring sellers arrived and so did the buyers, Zachery and Laurette, their attorney, who anticipated a closing and, without prior warning, Daniel Lunt’s estranged father, David Lunt, who was financing the transaction for his grandson.

Juskewitch was in court on unrelated business.

For more community news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]