July 1, 2011
Employee "Bonuses" Violate Fee-Sharing Prohibition
The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department has imposed a suspension of one year and until further court order as reciprocal discipline for a New Jersey suspension.
The court described the violations:
The New Jersey order reflects that the respondent participated in prohibited fee-sharing, whereby nonlawyer employees of his now-defunct law firm received shares of legal fees, classified as "bonuses," when they referred cases to the firm. In addition, the respondent gave less-than-candid testimony about the fee-sharing at an administrative hearing before the New Jersey Department of Labor, Division of Wage and Hour Compliance, which created a "misapprehension" by the tribunal as to the payment of said "bonuses." The respondent failed to take action to correct the tribunal's "misapprehension." Similar "dissembling" was noted in connection with the respondent's disciplinary proceeding. Finally, the respondent failed to exercise appropriate oversight over firm finances, resulting in the director of administration, and other staff, misappropriating more than two million dollars of fiduciary funds.
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