Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Slower Pace Leads To Reinstatement

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has reinstated an attorney admitted in 1992 who resigned with pending charges in 2005. He had a record of discipline that preceded the resignation.

From the court's opinion:

The petitioner testified that he was a sole-practitioner who took on more cases than he could adequately handle. He handled primarily criminal defense matters and, because he speaks Spanish, he took on a large number of cases representing Hispanics, many of which were pro bono. The petitioner realizes that he overloaded himself and was unable to manage his practice. He worked long hours and was affected physically by the stress of his practice. He now recognizes that he should have refused to take on so many cases, and that he should have gotten help. When questioned as to his reason for resigning, the petitioner stated:

"There was just so much. I had two grievances pending and I was stressed out and I realized I wasn't doing as well as I should be doing and I resigned." Tr. pp. 73-74.

The petitioner expressed remorse for his conduct and the disrepute that he brought on the profession. He fully accepts responsibility for his failures. He states that he has matured a great deal and has realized that he cannot help everybody. He is now living a more slow-paced life and is raising ducks, chickens and pheasants at his home on Lake Fort Gibson and is enjoying hobbies such as fishing. To ensure that he keeps his practice under control he plans to limit his law practice to part-time, if readmitted. He testified that he would like to practice immigration law and that he will not undertake major criminal cases. He will look to other attorneys and to the OBA for help when needed. He intends to do some pro bono work for elderly and disabled members of the Cherokee Nation. He would like to be of help to other lawyers that find themselves in the same position. He realizes the seriousness of his misconduct and the consequences of his decision to resign from the bar.

(Mike Frisch)

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