Wednesday, July 3, 2013
An attorney who had misrepresented his Minnesota bar status and failed to disclose a bar grievance and contempt matter in seeking pro hac vice admission to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit was reprimanded by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
The complaint against him was filed by an attorney retained to pursue the matter by his opposing counsel in contentious litigation.
In defending the charges, the attorney posed the question: "Why would I?"
The answer of the Disciplinary Review Board: To get admitted so that you could represent your client in the litigation.
The attorney's efforts to explain/justify his conduct were rejected by the DRB:
[His] arguments that he forgot that he was not in good standing or that he misinterpreted the questions on the application for admission are specious and strain credibility. Respondent was clearly an able attorney with twenty years of experience. He could not have forgotten that he was no longer in good standing in Minnesota. He had not paid his annual fee there in close to twenty years. He had to know that his license was, at best, inactive, at worst, suspended...
Given the seriousness of the underlying allegations in the criminal contempt proceedings, it is hard to believe that [he] could have misinterpreted the language of the remaining questions.
The DRB found that the attorney made a false statement of material fact in an admission application.
Given that an applicant would be denied or had admission revoked for such a violation, one could argue that this is a tad on the light side. (Mike Frisch)