"The [Our State]Supreme Court, today imposed a 24-month suspension against the license of [an] OurTown attorney...for engaging in a pattern of misconduct in which [he] commingled his own funds with client funds on deposit in his law office trust account, and improperly used the trust account as a personal bank account and operating account for an extended period in order to avoid collection actions by his creditors for unpaid judgments and delinquent taxes.
In a 6-1 decision, the Court voted to adopt findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that [the attorney] engaged in fraudulent trust account practices and deliberate deceptions between January 2006 and May 2007. Specifically, [he] violated the rules of professional conduct that require an attorney to maintain a trust account in which only client funds are held, to avoid commingling of his personal funds with monies held for clients, and to keep full and accurate records of all funds deposited to and withdrawn from his trust account. The Court also found violations of the disciplinary rules that prohibit attorneys from engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and conduct that adversely reflects on an attorney’s fitness to practice law.
The Court adopted the disciplinary board’s recommended sanction of a 24-month license suspension, and imposed as pre-conditions for reinstatement the requirements that [the attorney] complete six additional continuing legal education hours in law-office management and accounting and fully pay or provide evidence that he has entered into settlements of 12 court judgments currently outstanding against him totaling nearly $25,000."
Let me add that the Our State Supreme Court adopted the findings of the disciplinary board that the [Bad Lawyer] had never been previously disciplined in twenty-eight years, nor had he ever taken or misused client funds.
When I started the Bad Lawyer Blawg, it was my intention to tell you everything. I did many wrong things in the management of my law office over the years, I did not do bad things. I mistakenly believed that the distinction between the wrong things that I did (versus the bad things that I did not do); and, the wrong things I omitted to do were not going to catch up with me. I believed that if my acts and omissions did catch up with me the violations would not result in disciplinary action. I did not appreciate the gravity of my actions. I did the things that resulted in my suspension.
My special insight as a blawg-er is the fact that for twenty-eight years I practiced law at the ground level-the street level. I reached a level of prominence in Our Town and in Our State--and, I accomplished many overall positive results for clients. I cared about pushing the law in the direction of helping to make positive change, particularly for victims of child sex abuse.
I am personally, ashamed, and disgraced. I do have a conscience and as I said when this all started sleep has been difficult. The feeling is surreal. Since I don't drink, or do drugs prescription or otherwise, there is no bufffer on my feelings, the emotions are full force. I am suffering and surfing on and through wave after wave of guilt and remorse. My dear friends are caring and supportive. Whether I will be able to professionally return remains another matter--I liked to and I plan to, but who knows, even a brief suspension is like a professional drowning. Not to overdo the metaphor, but the last two years have been not unlike a professional waterboarding, so at least that's over, I hope.
The Bad Lawyer blawg will continue in its own snarky way to give you news and views of all things--> law. At the same time I'll also try to document, my humiliations and my fight to survive and return to what I did, proudly once--represent people in Our State who need an advocate who gives a damn about the law, and the people, the courts and law impact.
Thanks for following the Bad Lawyer Blawg.