February 28, 2011
Internet Credit Counseling Course Taken By Attorney, Not Client
The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department has imposed reciprocal discipline based on a sanction of a federal bankruptcy court. The court describes the facts:
By Stipulation and Order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York, dated January 22, 2009, the respondent was suspended for a period of one year from engaging in the practice of law before the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, and the United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York. The Stipulation and Order resolved allegations made by a former client of the respondent, for whom the respondent had filed a bankruptcy petition. The respondent acknowledged that he had filed a certificate of credit counseling over the Internet stating that his client had completed a required credit counseling course before filing the bankruptcy petition, when, in fact, he had taken the credit counseling course on behalf of his client. The respondent was permitted to conclude certain specified bankruptcy matters currently pending. He was directed to expeditiously transfer all other bankruptcy matters to substitute counsel. At the end of the one-year period, the United States Trustee would not object to the respondent's reinstatement, provided that he satisfactorily complied with all terms of the Stipulation and Order, was in good standing before the New York State Bar and the United States District Courts, and complied with all requirements under the applicable provisions of the law to resume his practice before the United States District Court within one year after entry of the Stipulation and Order. Prior to seeking reinstatement, the respondent was required to complete 12 hours of Continuing Legal Education (hereinafter CLE) in the area of bankruptcy and 4 hours in the area of ethics. In addition, the Bankruptcy Court imposed a fine in the sum of $40,000. After paying the fine and obtaining the required CLE credits, the respondent was reinstated to practice by order of the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, dated March 8, 2010.
The reciprocal sanction is a public censure. (Mike Frisch)
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