Friday, May 13, 2011
A New Jersey attorney has been suspended for a year and until further order after two prior disciplinary matters. The misconduct involved abandoning a client in a family law matter and defaulting in the ensuing proceeding before the Bar. The attorney (admitted in 1995) has retired from practice and is now in Mexico.
I was struck by this statement in the report of the Disciplinary Review Board
Here, respondent has shown nothing but disrespect - indeed, insolence - in his dealing with the disciplinary system, an arm of the Supreme Court...
What discipline is, then, appropriate for this respondent? His abandonment of [his client's] interests and failure to cooperate with ethics authorities by allowing this matter to proceed to a default would, most likely, merit a three-month suspension, if these had been [his] only infractions...Respondent, however, failed to memorialize the basis and rate of his fee...and, more seriously, displayed a contumacious attitude toward the disciplinary system. As indicated previously, this is his third default. We, therefore, determine that a one-year suspension is justified in this instance.
If abandoning a client and ignoring a bar complaint normally merits a three-month suspension, New Jersey needs a new normal. (Mike Frisch)