Monday, November 15, 2010

Overbilling Results In 90 Day Suspension

Last Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted a proposed 90 day suspensdion of a former Holland & Knight attorney based on a complaint of false billing practices. In March 2010, Chicagobusiness.com reported on a possible deal in the case:

 Former Holland & Knight LLP partner Edward Ryan and the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission are considering an agreement on discipline for his alleged falsification of billing invoices, the state board said.

At a hearing Monday, attorneys for the commission and Mr. Ryan's lawyer, Arthur Friedman, said they are discussing whether the case can be resolved by Mr. Ryan agreeing to disciplinary terms, said a spokesman for the commission.

The worst sanction possible is disbarment, but that's unlikely to happen if the two sides reach an agreement on discipline, the spokesman said.

Mr. Ryan, a commercial litigator in Holland & Knight's Chicago office, was charged in a November 2008 complaint with falsifying billing for work he provided to developer Pinnacle Corp. in a copyright infringement case over a two-year period from August 2002 to December 2004. The case was being litigated in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. The commission's complaint didn't specify the amount of overbilling.

Mr. Friedman, a lawyer with Miller Shakman & Beem in Chicago, declined to comment on whether Mr. Ryan has landed at a new firm since he left Holland & Knight.

The parties will meet again May 4, at which time it should be clear whether a trial is necessary, the commission spokesman said.

The court's order provides:

The petition by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to impose discipline on consent pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 762(b) is allowed, and respondent Edward Francis Ryan is suspended from the practice of law for ninety (90) days.

The court's order concludes the bar matter. (Mike Frisch)

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