Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Practice After Suspension Results In Disbarment

An attorney who had continued to practice after being suspended for six months was disbarred by the New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department.

The court described the circumstances of the initial sanction, imposed for neglect of a matter for an extended period of time:

In setting the sanction, we took into consideration respondent's 52 years of practice, his representation of needy clients, his military service and his prior disciplinary record which consisted of one prior Admonition. However, we also found that "it is evident that [respondent] neglected the matter entrusted to him over a very lengthy period of time, and was less than candid and cooperative when the investigation was ongoing. A mere censure or admonition would serve to ignore the significance of respondent's acts - - which was the neglect of a matter entrusted to him by a client who had placed her faith in him" (citation omitted)

Here:

The Committee has submitted clear evidence that respondent, in just over three months after the effective date of his suspension, appeared on behalf of three clients on at least two separate occasions before a criminal court judge and a JHO. Moreover, it is uncontroverted that he failed to file an affidavit of compliance following his suspension and has held himself out as an attorney in good standing.

"Engaging in the practice of law while under an order of suspension is [a misdemeanor](Judiciary Law ยง 486) and warrants immediate disbarment' without further proceedings." In view of his default in filing an affidavit of compliance, and his failure to contest clear evidence of his violation of the order of suspension, respondent is subject to disbarment without further proceedings (citations omitted)

(Mike Frisch)

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