Friday, October 27, 2006
By Mike Frisch
By remarkable coincidence, the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers ("BBO") yesterday issued its decision in the case I mentioned in my last post. The decision should be available on line shortly. The case involves charges against three lawyers, two quite prominent, who hatched a scheme to entice a former judicial clerk to help overturn a series of adverse trial court decisions by luring him to a jurisdiction that allowed secret taping on promise of a phony job offer. After a second secretly taped "job interview" produced no helpful evidence, the two then confronted the former law clerk as if he were a low level drug dealer turning on his connection. They falsely suggested that they had an inculpatory tape of the first meeting (no tape ever surfaced) and threatened to destroy his career. The clerk got a lawyer and went to the FBI. The FBI had the clerk tape the lawyers as part of an investigation of possible extortion. The bar matter was activated when federal prosecutors declined to pursue criminal charges. The hearing officer had recommended disbarment for all three. I am told that the BBO on review of the hearing officer's report reduced the sanction for the most senior and prominent of the trio to three years with disbarment for the other two.
Further, it appears that the "reforms" of the Massachusetts discipline system proposed by the Task Force has been preempted by far more reasonable reform proposals that grew out of a study by the ABA. Perhaps not all is gloom and doom in the hope for improvement in regulation of the profession.