Tuesday, October 20, 2009
A Louisiana attorney was suspended for three years, with all but 18 months stayed, for misconduct in connection with class action litigation. He applied for reinstatement. The fighting issue in the reinstatement hearing was whether or not he had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law while suspended. The evidence established that he had continued to represent clients in federal court in matters that had involved application of state law.
A majority of the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board agreed with a hearing committee that the attorney's continued federal practice did not violate rules governing unauthorized practice and has recommended reinstatement. There are dissents. One dissent suggests that the attorney had immediately made efforts to circumvent the order of suspension; another notes that the issue is one of first imprssion in Louisiana and relies heavily on a Pennsylvania decision.
I would guess that the Office of Disciplinary Counsel will contest this legal conclusion before the Supreme Court. (Mike Frisch)