Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Paying Dues

A recent bar discipline case is reported on the web page of the Massachusetts Board of Bar overseers:

The respondent was admitted to practice in Massachusetts on January 17, 2006. He was also licensed to practice in New York. In 2006, the respondent accepted a job as an associate at a firm in Boston, Massachusetts. When he was hired, the firm agreed to pay either his New York or his Massachusetts attorney license fee. The respondent assumed that the firm was paying his Massachusetts registration fee because the respondent was paying his New York registration fee. The respondent negligently failed to confirm this understanding with the firm, and he failed to register and to pay his Massachusetts annual registration fee due to be paid in December of 2006. On July 24, 2007, the respondent was administratively suspended due to his failure to register.

The respondent was unaware of his administrative suspension. He did not seek reinstatement within thirty days of the entry of the order of administrative suspension. He therefore became subject to the notice and compliance provisions of S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 17(1), (5) and (6). The respondent did not comply with these rules.

The respondent continued to practice law in Massachusetts until December of 2009, when he learned of his administrative suspension and promptly ceased the practice of law.

In December 2009 and January 2010, the respondent intentionally failed without good cause to reply to two letters from bar counsel. After the Board of Bar Overseers issued a subpoena directing the respondent to appear on February 18, 2010 for questioning, the respondent contacted bar counsel, filed a written response, and cooperated with bar counsel’s investigation.

On March 29, 2010, the respondent filed an affidavit of compliance with S.J.C. Rule 4:01.

By practicing law after his administrative suspension, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 5.5(a). By failing to file a timely affidavit of compliance, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(d) and S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 17(5) and (6). By knowingly failing without good cause to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority in connection with a disciplinary matter, the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 3.4(c), 8.1(b), and 8.4(g).

The matter came before the Board of Bar Overseers on a stipulation of facts and a joint recommendation for a public reprimand. On October 18, 2010, the board ordered a public reprimand.

(Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2010/12/paying-dues.html

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