March 26, 2009
What happens when a lawyer is suspended from practice during an ongoing client representation? The wrong thing, according to an order of a further suspension by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The attorney had undertaken a driving while intoxicated case. The representation appears to have proceeded in an appropriate manner until the court suspended the lawyer for six months. Rather than advise the client of the suspension, the attorney advised the client that the matter was being referred to another lawyer due to the press of other business. The client met with but did not retain the second lawyer. The district attorney also was not notified of the suspension. Finally, the suspended attorney falsely certified that she had complied with the suspension order.
The court (with one justice dissenting) imposed an additional three-month suspension based on the consent of the lawyer and disciplinary counsel. A member of the Disciplinary Board had favored a nine-month suspension. (Mike Frisch)
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