Thursday, July 21, 2011
The New York Appellate Division for the Second Department found some mitigation in a bar discipline matter involving neglect and conversion of entrusted funds:
In mitigation, the respondent testified that she withdrew money from her escrow account in order to make repairs and improvements on her mother's house so that her mother, whom she was caring for, could be made more comfortable. The respondent's mother, who was 85 years old at the time, suffered from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The respondent also testified that her neglect of two matters was directly attributable to clinical depression, which at the time had gone untreated.
The respondent has no prior disciplinary history.
Notwithstanding the fact that the respondent is remorseful, and that she replaced the converted funds before any investigation began, the respondent committed serious professional misconduct when she intentionally converted client funds for personal use and neglected legal matters entrusted to her. In view of the significant mitigation advanced, we conclude that the respondent's suspension from the practice of law for a period of 2½ years is warranted.
The court's opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)