Monday, July 20, 2020
A cautionary tale on disclosures in the bar admission process in a matter that has resulted in a consent two-year suspension with one year stayed and probation by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The attorney was admitted in Pennsylvania in October 2018 and had self-reported the misconduct.
The initial issue involved his scheduled graduation from Rutgers Law after the spring 2017 semester and his application to the New Jersey Bar with that expected date.
Unfortunately, he withdrew from a three-credit course and did not complete the credits required to graduate as expected.
He failed to advise New Jersey of the changed circumstances and received deficiency notices for the failure to provide proof that he had graduated. His application was deemed as abandoned.
He obtained work as a judicial clerk by falsely stating that he had his juris doctor degree.
He sat for the New Jersey bar exam in July 2017 but the results were withheld due to the absence of proof of graduation.
In January 2018, he re-enrolled at Rutgers and completed his degree requirements.
He then applied to the Pennsylvania Bar and falsely stated that he was awarded his law degree in May 2017. He also failed to disclose the issues with New Jersey.
After reactivating his New Jersey application, he failed to update the Pennsylvania application with additional required information.
Pennsylvania admitted him in October 2018; in March 2020, New Jersey withheld certification but will allow him to reapply in six months.
The lesson is that there is a continuing duty of candor in the admissions process. Here, that obligation required the attorney to advise New Jersey of the changed circumstances.
That lapse led to the avoidable consequences that befell the attorney here. (Mike Frisch)