An attorney from Cochise County who practices throughout southern Arizona and in federal court has agreed to retire by June 2020 to resolve a recent complaint filed with the State Bar of Arizona, but until then he is suspended from practicing law for six months.
Edward W. Matchett was suspended effective Nov. 1 for failing to “competently represent and adequately communicate with a client in a probate matter,” according to state bar records. He can apply for restatement in May 2020 but only if he first pays $4,000 to the client and $1,200 to the state bar.
Matchett, 73, was admitted to the practice of law in 1985. He lives in Bisbee and has operated his law office inside the Gadsden Hotel in Douglas for several years. If reinstated after the suspension, Matchett will be on probation with the bar’s office management assistance program while he works to close Matchett Law Firm and retire by June 2020.
Public records show Matchett consented to the presiding disciplinary judge’s suspension order, which is the second such action taken against the lawyer since 2016. The order for the first suspension reveals Matchett was prohibited from practicing law for 30 days after violating “a number of ethics rules” involving two cases.
One of the cases involved in Matchett’s 2016 suspension was a wrongful termination lawsuit he filed for a client. A federal judge dismissed the case and ordered the client to pay $36,000 to the other party’s attorney. However, Matchett didn’t inform the client of the court order for several months, resulting in a malpractice policy claim which was later settled.
Matchett’s license was reinstated in November 2016 but he was on probation for two years during which he was required to obtain a practice monitor to assist with his office management. He was also ordered to undergo additional legal training on federal court rules.
As with the current suspension, the state bar noted in 2016 that Matchett cooperated with the disciplinary review proceedings and had no dishonest motive to his conduct. He also showed remorse, according to both suspension notices.