Thursday, December 28, 2006
I suspect that there may be a widespread public perception that the disbarment of a lawyer is permanent. In the vast majority of states, disbarment is in fact a five-year suspension from practice with the opportunity to thereafter seek reinstatement. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals today ordered, here, the reinstatement of an attorney who had consented to disbarment in 1993 after misappropriating $76,000 from two estates that he served as court-appointed guardian. His practice had experienced a "reduction in work" and he was found to have only intended to "borrow" the entrusted funds. He repaid $65,000, with the balance paid by sureties.
The report attached to the case sets out the standards applied in reinstatement cases and the analysis of each factor. The Court adopted the Board and Bar Counsel's recommendation for return to practice, finding that "sustained and strenuous efforts [by the disbarred lawyer] justify the recommendation." [Mike Frisch]