When I started writing here, and it became apparent that nothing good, from my limited perspective was going to come of my tax and disciplinary woes, I promised to at least tell it all on Bad Lawyer.
My professional conduct deviated from the standards of the ethical attorney in the maintenance of my IOLTA account; and, in the reporting of income and payment of taxes. I rationalized that I would be able to "catch-up and negotiate." This was delusional on my part. I thought to myself that I was not stealing from my clients, I was just taking from my allocated attorney fees. While technically true, the rules mean something--if in fact, I could not pay may bills, keep the phones turned on and pay the secretary without cheating then I really had no business holding myself out as being fit to practice law. As the secrets of my incapacity compounded I was sicker, and less able to practice. After 15 years of sobriety I relapsed, seriously oblivious to the connections between my unethical and illegal conduct and sobriety. I thought my relapse related to my father's dying--I recognize now that my father's dying and the crisis in my family was just an excuse to medicate my more profound disorganization and emotional disorders. I was sick.
The most painful moment until now was standing in Federal Court and admitting to the Judge that I was a tax felon. Not something I ever envisioned, not something I ever dreamed possible. I genuinely respect the law, I did not think I could break the law. I broke the law. My heart and mind are shattered by what I did and what it means for my family and for me. Thank God for my friends, family, and support system, especially AA and OLAP; looking forward from the time when I knew charges were coming down I did not imagine surviving the psychic blow that I knew was in store for me. But I did.
Today, tomorrow, or Monday I will have myself driven down to the US Marshall's office to surrender and commence my 5 month incarceration.
I am in extreme emotional pain, and the desire to go early is my recognition that I am not spending these remaining moments of freedom with anything but the heaviest of hearts. My poor kids. I can't imagine what it's been like for them this last couple of years.
I will miss my children the most. Despite the day to day disappointments and gnashing of teeth that parenting teenagers presents--they are the best things that ever happened to me, and they would not be in my life but for the willfulness of the BSL who demanded that we go out and fetch them from the universe. My children are pure joy, smart, fun, loving and beautiful. Their friends and family are blessed to know them and have them in their lives.
My friends: Pat, Sharon, Bill, Steve, Lester, Irving, Chris, Mark, Nancy, Ron, Laura, Robbie, Carmen, John, Chuck, Mike, Alex, Gail, Betty, Gayle, Yehuda, Keith,Tom, Marcia, my sisters: Sharon and Amy, my co-workers, and my neighbors are amazing! Instead of abandoning me, they opened their arms and showed me more love, concern and care than I deserve or thought possible. Thank you all. I want you to know that several folks have played roles in reporting my offenses or claiming that I did this or that wrong or unethical act. In all sincerity, I thank former peers and colleagues who felt it incumbent upon themselves to report me to the disciplinary and tax authorities--whatever their intention or motivation, they saved my life and freed me from the bondage of my secrets. I wish all my friends, family and former colleagues: peace, prosperity, freedom, love, justice, and health.
Please keep me and my family in your prayers--I know you will.
Finally, while I am in Federal custody I plan to write, if only for myself to relate to you at some future point.
I hate saying goodbyes, but this blawg was a long good bye to who I thought I was, who I admire, who I am, what I think about the law, lawyers, and judges, how I and others fail, and what I dream about. I dream about justice and love. I dream that children are born without physical and psychological diseases, that they are loved, and that justice and peace prevail in their lives. I dreamed that the law, and those who are practitioners in the law will work to advance this dream.
It was an honor to be an attorney in OurState, a privilege. I regret that my limitations cost me this privilege. Someday I pray that a miracle occurs that will allow me to fully pay my debts and return to the profession I loved.
Maybe my experience will at least serve to caution you to take very seriously the obligations to uphold the laws of your state and of the United States of America; and, to take in all seriousness your duties under the Rules of Professional Conduct.
I'll see you in April!
the Bad Lawyer