Tuesday, June 12, 2012
This blog regularly reports on charges filed by disciplinary counsel against an attorney. So far as I am aware, the web page of the North Carolina State Bar is the only place that provides online access to the attorney's response.
A recent case filed against two attorneys who practiced together alleges that they engaged in criminal conduct and conflicts of interest as closing attorneys on real estate loans.
The responsive pleading filed on behalf of the attorneys moves to dismiss the charges, raises several affirmative defenses, and admits or denies the allegations in detail. The defense contends that the State Bar failed to allege fraud with the specificity required by the rules of civil procedure.
The defense describes the attorneys as victims of fraud rather than its perpetrators. They contend that discipline is barred due to the intervening and superseding negligence or fraud on the part of the lender banks. It is also contended that discipline is barred by the doctrine of accord and satisfaction.
Attached to the pleading is a complaint filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The web page also gives the time and place of the public hearing.
I applaud the practice of having bar discipline hearings conducted at a law school with students being given the opportunity (or even being required) to learn about the bar's processes up close and personal. That might be a valuable lesson.
The North Carolina State Bar is the gold standard of public access to this kind of information. Every other bar should follow its example. (Mike Frisch)