Monday, August 9, 2010

Wisdom That Should Migrate To D.C.

An Indiana attorney has been suspended for 30 days for ethical violations in representation of a family corporation and one of seven siblings with a legal interest in the corporation.

The attorney had purported to represent both the single client and the corporation while actively assisting the single client's efforts to take sole control. The Indiana Supreme Court found that the conflicts in the dual representations were apparent and that the attorney's "ethical violations extended over several years to the considerable detriment of the Corporation."

The court was concerned that the attorney has failed to appreciate his ethical obligations but noted that the proposed sanction had been submitted by agreement between the attorney and disciplinary counsel. The attorney has an extensive history of public service.

Most notably, the court was concerned that the sanction might be unduly lenient but expressed a "desire to foster agreed resolutions of lawyer disciplinary cases..." and accepted the proposed discipline. The parties had jointly agreed that the attorney committed several ethical violations and proposed the 30 day suspension with automatic reinstatement.

I have been meaning to post some disquieting recent board and hearing committee opinions in the District of Columbia that make me fear for the future of agreed dispositions here. How I wish D.C.'s system would see and understand the wisdom displayed here by the Indiana Supreme Court in recognizing the importance of consent dispositions to a fair and efficient disciplinary regime.

I am not optimistic. (Mike Frisch)

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