Thursday, June 14, 2018
Simply put, respondent did not engage in conduct that would constitute knowing misappropriation in New Jersey.
Unlike the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, in New Jersey, attorneys may place advanced fees in either the attorney trust account or the attorney business account, and there is no requirement that the fees be taken only as they are earned, unless a specific agreement between the attorney and the client requires it.
I'd take no pride in that lawyer-loving rule. We used to have it in D.C. before we wised up about the use of Other People's Money.
There are no aggravating factors for our consideration. In mitigation, this matter marks respondent’s first brush with disciplinary authorities in New Jersey in over twenty-five years at the bar. Therefore, we determine to impose an admonition.
Members Gallipoli and Zmirich voted to impose a reprimand.
The attorney had been suspended on an interim basis in New Jersey.
When an attorney consents to disbarment in D.C., the supporting facts simply are not contained in the affidavit.
This result should encourage misappropriating lawyers to join the New Jersey Bar, quietly consent if they are caught and use this precedent to avoid reciprocal discipline and keep their law license in a haven of lawyer forgiveness. (Mike Frisch)