Friday, July 29, 2011

Compromise Verdict

A Louisiana Hearing Committee, in what it called a "compromise verdict" has proposed a three-year suspension of an attorney who had diverted money of his law firm for personal use:

[The attorney] self-reported his conduct to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Other than this infraction, which he duly admits, he has enjoyed a highly successful practice and has been regarded as a valuable member of the community. The attorneys and clients who appeared on his behalf testified regarding his trustworthiness, their acknowledgement of his mistake, and their sincere belief that [he] is a good man and that this conduct would not be repeated. He is especially regarded among the legal community with having a high degree of knowledge in the field of tax and property transactions and it is evident from listening to the testimony of both lawyers, clients, and CPAs that his opinions on those matters are well regarded and that he has been a valuable asset to the community and to the profession in the narrow field in which he practices. The committee found the testimony persuasive and significant in mitigating the baseline sanction of disbarment.

The committee also deems it important that no client funds or property were implicated in the conversion, that the public was not at risk due to [his] behavior, that no restitution is owed, that all financial disputes between [the attorney] and his former law partners have been confidentially compromised, and all litigation dismissed with prejudice.

Conversion of funds is a serious infraction, and the committee views the charges seriously and feels that a suspension from the practice of law is warranted. Although there was some support in the committee for a deferment for a portion of the suspension, the committee was not unanimous on that point. In a compromise verdict by the committee, the committee unanimously recommends the sanction of a three year suspension.

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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