The founding partner of Baker Johnson Lawyers, one of Brisbane’s biggest law firms, has stood down from his position amid claims he allegedly overcharged clients and called them crude names.
Michael Vincent Baker, who faces being struck from the Roll of Solicitors, retired as a partner on Thursday, but will stay on as a consultant.
The decision came on the same day that the Queensland Law Society charged Mr Baker with five counts of inappropriately charging clients and two counts of using crude language towards clients.
It is alleged that Mr Baker told clients they were “absolute morons” and unfairly charged two clients after he withdrew representation because he had an obvious conflict of interest.
His clients were fighting each other. If found guilty, Mr Baker faces having his name struck from the Bar registry or being suspended from practice.
Law Society spokesman Russell Grenning said Mr Baker’s decision to stand down would have no bearing on his trial.
“He will face the charges as a practising solicitor, not as the head of a company,” Mr Grenning said. “It doesn’t change anything one iota – the charges will proceed.”
No decision has been made as to whether Mr Baker will by tried by the Legal Practice Committee or the Legal Practice Tribunal.
The tribunal has been set up to hear more serious allegations of professional misconduct and will be able to hand down tougher penalties.