Thursday, July 5, 2007
The New York Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department recently decided an attorney discipline case that raised some interesting issues. The attorney had, through intermediaries, funded loans to clients over an eight year period in amounts that totaled over $700,000. He also was found to have facilitated concealment of a loan arrangement in a bankruptcy matter. He posted a "best lawyer" profile on his web page that suggested he qualified for "best lawyer" status. He also posted information on his web page concerning a confidential disciplinary complaint against a rival law firm.
The court found that the lawyer had made improper loans to clients with knowledge of the ethical impropriety. The "best lawyer" language was not an ethical violation as it contained no demonstrably false information and could be characterized as "constitutionally protected hyperbole." The disclosure of the ethical complaint violated New York rules. The court found a "shocking lack of remorse" and suspended the lawyer for 18 months and until further notice.
The link takes you to the court's web page. The case is Matter of Moran, P-06-008, decided June 8, 2007. (Mike Frisch).