In the Matter of Dan C. PELLETIER, Respondent.
Submitted: Jan. 15, 2014.
Disciplinary Proceeding Upon Final Report of the Board on Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court. SUSPENSION IMPOSED.
Patricia Bartley Schwartz, Esquire, Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Wilmington, Delaware.
Dan C. Pelletier, pro se.
Before HOLLAND, BERGER and JACOBS, Justices.
This is an attorney disciplinary matter involving Dan C. Pelletier's (" Pelletier" ) unauthorized practice of law in Delaware. In a report dated October 31, 2013 (the " Report" ), the Board on Professional Responsibility (the " Board" ) found that Pelletier engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in Delaware in violation of the Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct (the " Rules" ) and recommended Pelletier be publicly reprimanded. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (the " ODC" ) objects to the Board's recommended sanction and argues that a one-year suspension be imposed. We agree with the position asserted by ODC.
Facts and Procedural Background 
Pelletier was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1998, but is not now— nor has he ever been— a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of Delaware. In February 2007, Pelletier established Riddlefield, LLC (" Riddlefield" ) as a general legal practice. His stated purpose for doing so was to provide a referral service to practicing Delaware lawyers. Engagement letters issued under Riddlefield's header identified Pelletier as a " Member of Riddlefield LLC, 2412 Riddle Avenue, Wilmington, Delaware, and with an office located at 701 White Horse Road, Suite 3, Voorhees, New Jersey." Pelletier's resume, engagement letters, and a flyer used to advertise Riddlefield in January 2009 all state that Pelletier intended to provide legal representation in Delaware. Pelletier testified that based on conversations with (unnamed) Delaware lawyers, he understood this conduct to be permissible under Delaware law.
Pelletier engaged four clients in connection with Riddlefield, all of which were injured in accidents that occurred in Delaware. With all four clients he agreed to " provide legal services including all necessary negotiation, legal research, investigation, correspondence, preparation and appearances." His activities in furtherance of the representation of his clients included
communicating with the tortfeasors' insurance companies on behalf of his clients, and settling one case for $50,000.00. All of Pelletier's work for his clients was performed in Delaware: " all client contact was in Delaware, all of the operative facts occurred in Delaware, and the payment [in connection with the settlement] was made in Delaware."
On June 17, 2013, the ODC filed a Petition for Discipline (the " Petition" ) against Pelletier. The Petition alleged that Pelletier violated Rule 5.5(b)(1) by establishing an office for the practice of law when he was not admitted to the Delaware Bar (Count I), and that Pelletier violated Rule 5.5(b)(1) by holding out to the public that he was admitted to practice law in Delaware and by marketing Riddlefield and offering to provide legal services in Delaware (Counts II and III). The Board held a hearing on August 13, 2013 at which Pelletier testified.
In its Report, the Board found that Counts I-III were established by clear and convincing evidence, and recommended a public reprimand for Pelletier. Because the allegations were deemed conceded, the Board's analysis focused primarily on the appropriate sanction for Pelletier. The Board noted that this Court follows the American ...