Monday, November 17, 2008
An associate attorney in a law firm who had failed to remit a legal fee paid to her that was the property of her law firm was censured by the New York Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department. The court considered a number of mitigating factors:
We have considered the matters submitted by respondent in mitigation, including that the misconduct was an aberration and occurred at a time when her judgment was affected by severe stress that she was experiencing as a result of personal problems. Additionally, we have considered that respondent has made restitution to the firm as well as her submission in mitigation setting forth that she had arranged for a loan that would have enabled her to pay back the retainer fee even before her misappropriation of those funds was discovered. Finally, we have considered the previously unblemished record of respondent and her expression of extreme remorse for the misconduct. Accordingly, we conclude that respondent should be censured.
The evidence showed that the fee had been deposited in the associate's former operating bank account. No indication from the opinion how the misconduct came to light. (Mike Frisch)