May 29, 2009
Open Your Mail
Pemmsylvania is a jurisdiction that treats practicing while suspension as serious misconduct that warrants a significant sanction. An attorney who had placed on inactive status for failure to complete required CLE was suspended for a year and a day by the Supreme Court. He had ignored notices regarding the issue, acknowledging that he receive notices did not open the mail when it came from the Bar. It also was not helpful to his cause that he contended that such unauthorized practice did not cause any harm to clients or the profession. The Disciplinary Board viewed him as lacking appropriate remorse. (Mike Frisch)
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He was right though. He didn't "cause any harm to clients or the profession." The real crime here is thumbing his nose at the attorney reglatory establishment. One year suspension seems excessive.
Query if it is reasonable to find constructive notice of an order which had been sent via certified mail but had not actually been delivered? In many states, that would be insufficient to notice the commenceemnt of a proceeding. So why should it now be sufficient to notice a court order? Usually, actual notice of a court order is required before someone is held to that order.
On the other hand, what point would really have been served by requiring notice by publication? If he is not going to retrieve certified letters than there is no way he will check the classifieds for notices by publication.
Posted by: FixedWing | May 29, 2009 12:45:45 PM
We had a case in the District of Columbia many years ago where one of several allegations involved practice while suspended for non-payment of annual bar dues. The court, as I recall, called the matter "administrative" and the violation played no role in the ultimate sanction.
Posted by: Mike Frisch | May 29, 2009 3:24:33 PM