Thursday, January 20, 2022

Hearing Board Opposes Reinstatement

An Illinois Hearing Board has made an unfavorable recommendation on a petition for reinstatement

Petitioner sought reinstatement after being disbarred on consent based on his participation in a conspiracy involving sham marriages arranged to circumvent immigration laws. Petitioner’s role entailed preparing and submitting false documents to immigration authorities and advising the couples how to make their marriages appear legitimate when interviewed by immigration officials. Petitioner engaged in additional, unrelated misconduct involving neglect of client matters and failure to refund unearned fees. He also failed to properly notify clients when he was disbarred. Despite his otherwise good conduct since disbarment, the Hearing Board concluded that Petitioner did not prove that he should be reinstated and recommended that reinstatement be denied.

The conduct was serious

The seriousness of Petitioner’s misconduct does not preclude reinstatement, but weighs heavily against reinstatement.

He had demonstrated good post-disbarment/prison conduct

Ultimately, Petitioner did not demonstrate that he has identified and sufficiently addressed whatever issues led him to violate the law and abandon his clients. See, e.g., In re Magafas, 2019PR00063, M.R. 029993 (Sept. 23, 2021) (Hearing Bd. at 13-14). His very general testimony that he now appreciates his law license and realizes the importance of his responsibilities to clients is not enough to persuade us that he possesses the self-awareness and good judgment necessary to return to the practice of law. Petitioner’s conduct since disbarment includes many positive factors. However, given the concerns expressed above, we find that this factor does not favor reinstatement.

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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