Thursday, February 2, 2023

A Changed Man

A petitioner who had been permanently disbarred in New Jersey has been conditionally reinstated by the New York Appellate Division for the Third Judicial Department.

By March 2013 order, respondent was permanently disbarred in New Jersey by the Supreme Court of New Jersey due to his involvement in a fraudulent real estate transaction, his repeated misrepresentations to his former business partners and his attempt to conceal his misconduct by creating and submitting fictitious documents to disciplinary authorities.

Reciprocal disbarment was imposed in New York.


Following the hearing, the three-member subcommittee filed a report in July 2022 which unanimously recommended that respondent's motion for reinstatement be denied.

The court

our analysis does not conclude with a consideration of the facts giving rise to respondent's disciplinary sanction, and we instead must also consider respondent's conduct and circumstances over the intervening decade since his disbarment...

During his personal statement before us at argument, respondent accepted full and total responsibility for the conduct which gave rise to his disbarment and reflected on his "hundreds of hours" of subsequent introspection and contrition concerning his actions. Notably, respondent's disbarment coincided with a host of additional challenges which beset respondent and his family, including the loss of his home to Hurricane Sandy and his adult child's debilitating illness. The confluence of these multiple challenges ultimately led respondent to embrace sobriety, eliminate unhealthy relationships and influences from his life and to seek therapeutic intervention. In sum, respondent claims that the challenges of the last decade have left him a changed man, and the papers submitted in support of his application evidence that he has since reconciled with formerly estranged family members, reembraced an athletic discipline which has afforded him focus, friendships and mentoring opportunities, and has generally conducted himself in a lawful manner. Character references submitted on respondent's behalf also demonstrate his philanthropic endeavors and his trustworthy reputation within his community, even amongst those who are aware of his past professional misconduct.

Subject to conditions

While we have concluded that respondent has established the requisite character and fitness for the practice of law and that his reinstatement would be in the public's interest, in light of the concerns expressed by the Character and Fitness subcommittee, and mindful of the nature of the misconduct which gave rise to respondent's disbarment, we deem it appropriate to condition respondent's reinstatement upon certain probationary requirements.

Among the conditions are participation in the Bar's counseling program and mentoring relationship with an attorney. (Mike Frisch)

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