Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mitigation Not Pursued, Attorney Disbarred

The New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department lamented but nonetheless disbarred an attorney whose mental health issues impaired her practice and ability to respond to bar charges:

What makes this matter even more unfortunate is that, as pointed out by the Referee, respondent felt sincere remorse for her actions and wanted to make things right for her clients, but her crippling mental illness prevented her from even beginning to take steps to do so. Indeed, it is likely that the very mental illness which respondent appears to suffer from, and which seems to have led to the neglect charges in the first instance, prevented her from appearing in this proceeding and establishing her illness as a mitigating factor justifying suspension, or, at the very least, seeking an interim suspension pending a determination of her capacity to continue the practice of law, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 603.16. Nevertheless, because she did not take those actions, we have no choice but to uphold the sanction recommended by the Referee and the Hearing Panel.

(Mike Frisch)

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This smacks of spanking a sick child for not obeying. Our macho approach to lawyer performance must be toned down because there are excellent lawyers who go through temporary mental breakdowns and fight their way through even though their performance is not up to out high standards.

Posted by: Caldwell Hancock | Aug 29, 2013 9:01:45 AM

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