Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The Oklahoma Supreme Court has denied the reinstatement petition of an attorney disbarred in 1997. The court noted a series of considerations that precluded reinstatement. He had held himself out as an attorney after disbarment, filed a required affidavit twelve years too late and failed to pay costs. Also:

A fourth consideration in reinstatement proceedings is the petitioner's moral character...When [he] filled out the OBA's reinstatement questionnaire, [he] omitted numerous facts and misstated other facts. One fact that [he] lied about on the form was whether he had ever had a complaint filed against him in any civil forum alleging fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, forgery, or legal malpractice. [He] answered no to the question. In fact, a civil case was filed against [him] in which he was found to have acted fraudulently. The court entered judgment in 1990 against [him] for $70,999.00, plus costs of $92.00 and attorney fees of $6,475.00. [He] did not attempt to repay the 1990 judgment until two years before seeking reinstatement. On the questionnaire, [he] answered that he owed about $30,000.00 on the judgment when he actually owed over $150,000.00 because of the accrued interest. When questioned about the omissions and misstatements, [his] attitude showed that he was indifferent to the blatant deceptions. The deceptions in answers to the questionnaire and [his] attitude show that he does not possess the moral character necessary for admittance to the practice of law in Oklahoma. It also shows that he has not reformed his conduct since being disbarred in that lying to the OBA was part of the misconduct which resulted in his disbarment.


A fifth consideration in reviewing a reinstatement petition is the original misconduct's seriousness....[his]disbarment was based on his representing adverse interests in the hostile takeover of a business, entering into a business transaction with a client without disclosure, providing a client with financial assistance in connection with litigation, failing to act diligently and competently on his client's behalf, lying to clients, failing to keep clients reasonably informed, lying to the OBA's investigator, and failing to respond to the OBA's demands concerning grievances. The full details of [his] misconduct can be found in the opinion disbarring [him], State ex rel. Okla. Bar Ass'n v. Perry, 1997 OK 29, 936 P.2d 897


A sixth consideration is learning and competency in the law. When questioned about the rules regarding attorney trust accounts, [he] was unable to explain the basic principles. This is most disturbing given that the evidence showed that, prior to being disbarred, [he] had written checks on his trust account to pay for legal seminars and that the checks were returned for insufficient funds. It is clear that [he] does not yet understand the rules for segregating his clients' funds. Further, [he] was not familiar with major changes to the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct. 5 O.S.Supp. 2008, ch. 1, app. 3-A. [He] failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that he had the requisite competency and learning in the law.


  (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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