Monday, October 20, 2008
An Arizona hearing officer has recommended a six-month suspension, followed by probation for two years, in two matters involving fees for legal services. In one, the lawyer falsely advised a mediator that his firm had incurred over $200,000 in fees and fabricated bills. The second matter also involved fabricated bills.
The misconduct was discovered by a paralegal and led to his resignation from the firm. The attorney also made false statements to the bar in the course of its investigation, claiming that his billing conduct had been approved by a supervisor at his firm. The attorney presented evidence of a bipolar disorder and that he was not taking medication when the misconduct took place. The hearing officer found that the condition "caused, but did not excuse" the violations and was a basis to mitigate the otherwise appropriate sanction. (Mike Frisch)