July 20, 2010
Saved By Bar Complaint
An attorney was publicly censured by the New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department in light of findings that the misconduct found was the product of a serious substance abuse problem. The attorney has been sober and employed by a law firm for the past three years.
In November 2008, the Departmental Disciplinary Committee (Committee) served respondent with an amended notice of seven charges, accusing him of several instances of misconduct, in that he: submitted to a law firm a resume containing false information regarding his academic history and prior employment; submitted to the same firm, as a writing sample, a memorandum of law he falsely represented as his own; misrepresented, when questioned by the firm, that he was the author of the writing sample; falsely represented to the Committee in a June 2006 letter that he had prepared the writing sample; and failed to disclose on his 1999 bar application a 1996 arrest for the misdemeanor of driving under the influence of alcohol and conviction of the traffic violation of driving while impaired. Respondent, in addition, was arrested in February and April 2001 for the misdemeanor of criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) in the seventh degree, in connection with which he entered two guilty pleas to the violation of disorderly conduct.
The attorney tried and quickly became addicted to cocaine in 2000. He lost a law firm job as a result. The addiction problem worsened after the attorney lost his brother (a lieutenant with the Fire Department) in the World Trade Center attacks. He "credits the disciplinary inquiry as a major factor in his recovery." The sanction here requires him to continue treatment and remain in the Bar's assistance program for one year. (Mike Frisch)
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