Thursday, January 24, 2008
A New York attorney who had been convicted of a federal misdemeanor involving the prohibition against kickbacks and unearned fees was the subject of a bar discipline case. The Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department imposed a public censure notwithstanding the serious nature of the underlying criminal offense. The court considered and accepted the following in mitigation:
"The respondent asks that his good works over a 40-year career be balanced against his aberrant misjudgment which gave rise to his misdemeanor conviction. The respondent maintains that his fitness as a lawyer is amply demonstrated by his service to his clients, his profession, and his community. Organizations that he has served include the Area Fund of Dutchess County, a multi-million dollar fund which provides money to charities on an annual basis. Educational institutions which have benefitted from the respondent's volunteer work include Dutchess Community College, Marist College, and the Culinary Institute of America. The respondent's charitable works include service to the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Wappingers Falls and the Family Counseling Service. In addition, he has served the legal profession through pro bono lectures to senior citizen groups as well as lecturing in continuing legal education programs."
The attorney was found to be the least culpable of five defendants in the criminal case. (Mike Frisch)