Friday, March 4, 2011
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has imposed a year and a day suspension of an attorney who, save for the case at issue, had never engaged in the active practice of law. The attorney was admitted in 1995. The misconduct involved unauthorized practice while on inactive status with the Bar. The case was "the one and only case he was [ever] involved with."
The attorney was asked to assist a lawyer who represented a client in a domestic relations matter. At the time, the attorney was in good standing. He providing services until he went on inactive status in 2002. He did not notify the client and continued to assist the other lawyer.
The lawyer he was assisting became ill, taking disability status in 2004 and dying in 2008.The attorney's motivation was to assist the disabled lawyer and the client. He received no fee for his efforts. Rather, he got disciplined.
The sanction was imposed by consent and shows how seriously Pennsylvania treats unauthorized practice. Whether on inactive status (as here) or suspended for non-compliance with CLE obligations, let the lawyer beware. (Mike Frisch)