Tuesday, August 19, 2008
A Louisiana hearing committee recently recommended the disbarment of an attorney who was the managing partner of a law firm's office in Baton Rouge. He had taken on a personal injury claim on behalf of two minors involved in an auto accident, settled the case for $150,000 and turned over the entire proceeds to the father of the injured children. The father thereafter kicked back approximately $50,000 (the case was a contingency fee matter) which the lawyer did not turn over to his firm. When confronted by his partners, the attorney falsely claimed the father was an "old friend" and that he had waived the fee. He later admitted the conduct with the explanation that he "got greedy."
In the bar discipline case, the lawyer claimed ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) as mitigation but the hearing committee concluded that the condition "did not in any way affect his ability to discern right from wrong." The mitigation was undercut by evidence that the attorney was able to otherwise conduct his practice in an appropriate manner. (Mike Frisch)