Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Ostrich Approach

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted a recommendation (appended to the court order) for a suspension of a year and a day of an attorney who had been the subject of an informal admonition in February 2007 for commingling and other Rule 1.15 violations. The letter imposing the admonition notified him that he must appear at the offices of Disciplinary Counsel to have the admonition administered. He did not reject the admonition and failed to appear as directed. He then did not respond to a further letter that was personally served and did not complete CLE obligations imposed along with the admonition. As a result, new charges were filed and service was attempted on five occasions. He failed to attend the hearing on the charges.

Thus, ignoring an admonition led to a sanction that requires the lawyer to petition for reinstatement:

The record is devoid of any explanation for [his] actions. For the sake of the public, the Board cannot allow [him] to continue practicing without an assessment of his fitness to do so.

Does anyone with bar discipline experience in Pennsylvania know what happens when an attorney has an admonition administered? Does the attorney have to listen to a reading of the letter? It may be embarrassing but it would preferable to a lenghty suspension with a fitness showing. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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