Thursday, April 15, 2010
The New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department has revoked the license of a foriegn legal consultant admitted on the strength of his license to practice in Haiti. The court sustained a number of findings of misconduct by the appointed referee, including:
The Referee concluded that on May 10, 2006, only one week after being licensed as a legal consultant in New York, respondent applied for admission to the U.S. Supreme Court. In response to the application question, "State court(s) of last resort to which you are admitted to practice, and date(s) of admission," he answered "May 3, 2006, New York Supreme Court, Second Department, New York State." In addition, he attached copies of membership cards from various state and other bar associations to the application. On the same day, respondent applied for admission to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. In response to the application question asking what is the "highest State court in which applicant has been admitted to practice," respondent again answered "Supreme Court of New York." Similarly, respondent answered "Licensed by the Supreme of New York" when asked where he was presently engaged in the practice of law. Attached to his application were letters of reference stating that respondent was an "active member in good standing of the following law societies and state authorities" including four bar associations, with "Bar no[s]." The letter included the following text, "Licensed by the New York Supreme Court, Second Department, New York State Bar Association NYSBA Bar no. 69-2242 (518)463 3200." The number listed is in actuality the number that appears on respondent's New York State Bar Association membership card. The Referee concluded that respondent's use of the number misleadingly suggested it was an official number assigned to him by the Office of Court Administration.
Before the Referee, respondent did not deny he provided such answers, rather, he initially testified that he did include the words "foreign legal consultant" on his applications before they were submitted, and that the copy offered by the Committee had been altered by someone else without his knowledge. However, he did not produce a copy of the allegedly correct versions of the documents. Moreover, he provided a different explanation when previously questioned by the Committee, stating he omitted the words "legal consultant" because the forms did not leave sufficient space to include them.
Accordingly, the Referee concluded respondent stated he was licensed to practice in New York, and nowhere indicated he was a legal consultant, the limitations of his practice, or that he could not hold himself out as a member of the bar of this State.