April 2, 2010
"Sincere Regret" Avoids Suspension
An attorney found to have engaged in inflated billings in three matters was publicly censured by the New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department. The court considered a number of mitigating factors in determining that a suspension was not called for under the circumstances:
Although Special Referee Clarke sustained all nine charges of the petition, he found that the respondent had shown sincere regret for her actions and submitted evidence of her otherwise good character and professional integrity. In mitigation, the Special Referee took note of the 33 letters of support submitted on the respondent's behalf from attorneys, clients, and others attesting to her good character. He found the respondent's testimony credible with respect to her motivation in submitting the affirmations in this manner. She recognized her error in judgment in submitting the subject documents and expressed sincere remorse for having done so. The Special Referee found that the respondent did not obtain a monetary advantage by the submission of affirmations in the format used.
In view of the respondent's unblemished history and extensive mitigation, the respondent is publicly censured for her misconduct.
In each of the matters, the attorney had filed false and misleading statements in court-supervised matters. (Mike Frisch)
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Good in that this matter shows that billing for time not actually performed by an attorney is misconduct. The punishment was light, though. She should have been suspended for 6 months. She knew she was doing something improper.
Posted by: Tom Smiley | Apr 2, 2010 12:51:44 PM