Articles Posted in Legal Ethics Issues

The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers has adopted the recommendation of a hearing committee, disbarring an attorney for misconduct, mostly having to do with misappropriation of client funds. The attorney, William P. Corbett defended the accusations and the ultimate sanction of disbarment, both factually and on the board’s interpretation of the law.

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A Massachusetts attorney has been suspended indefinitely as the result of two claims of misconduct, including falsifying information to the FBI and forging real estate documents.  Specifically, in April of 2006 and January of 2007, the attorney met with FBI agents and alleged that his bank had “misdirected” approximately $88,000 from his account.  The attorney furnished several documents to the FBI, which were found to have been fabricated.  The attorney pleaded guilty to criminal charges for this misconduct on October 29, 2007, and was sentenced to two years probation, which he failed to disclose to bar counsel, as required under S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 12(8) and Mass. R. Prof. Conduct 8.4.

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Judicial Referee and retired Judge, Gary Cassavechia, has imposed a March 21, 2017 deadline for the beneficiaries of the late Geraldine Webber to reach a settlement in a legal malpractice suit with Webber’s former attorney, Gary Holmes.  Continue reading

The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (“BBO”) has issued public admonition against an attorney for failing to obtain a former client’s consent before representing a new client in a substantially related matter adverse to the former client.  In Admonition No. 15-23, the attorney had been employed by the law firm for eight years.  During this period, the firm represented the former client’s spouse, seeking modification of a divorce based on allegations of child abuse.  The attorney did not directly represent the spouse, but was consulted on a financial issue in the case.

The attorney left to start his own firm, and several years later, was retained by the former husband to defend new allegations of sex abuse a civil matter filed by his ex-wife. The attorney advised him of his firm’s prior representation of the ex-wife, but forgot that he had been personally consulted on the case, and also failed to obtain the ex-wife’s consent to represent her ex-husband.

The ex-wife informed the attorney of the conflict of interest and requested that he withdraw as counsel, but the attorney refused.  Counsel for the ex-wife then filed a Motion to Disqualify, which the Court granted.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently held that the simultaneous representation of business competitors by attorneys in different offices of the same law firm does not constitute a per se conflict of interest.  In Maling v. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP, the client hired a law firm’s Boston office to secure patents for his screwless eyeglass invention.  After successfully obtaining the patents, the client discovered that the law firm’s Washington, D.C. office represented a competitor seeking a patent for its own screwless eyeglass technology.

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The Supreme Judicial Court recently denied the application of a prospective attorney for admission to the Massachusetts bar on the basis that she lacked sufficient moral character.  In the matter of Malgorzata Chalupowski, a woman, who had passed the Massachusetts bar exam, submitted an application to the Board of Bar Overseers, seeking to be admitted as an attorney in the state.  The Board requested a meeting with the woman to discuss several disclosures contained in the application.

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently denied a prospective attorney’s application for admission to the bar on the grounds that he was not morally fit to practice law in the Commonwealth. In the case, In re: Chankrakant Shridhar Panse, an individual passed the state bar exam and submitted an application to be admitted as an attorney.

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The Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently approved a three month suspension of a Massachusetts attorney for violating several Rules of Professional Conduct. In the Matter of Timothy M. Mauser, a husband and wife hired an attorney to review their bankruptcy proceedings, after they discovered certain tax liens had not been discharged.

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The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (“SJC”) has recently reversed a lower court’s decision to sanction a Massachusetts attorney. In Gary Wong v. George V.H. Luu, the parties were attempting a settle several consolidated cases regarding the sale of three supermarket stores in Boston. However, shortly before the parties were scheduled to finalize a settlement agreement, an attorney representing several creditors involved in the lawsuit sent solicitation letters to other unsecured creditors of the supermarket.

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) has suspended an attorney from practicing law for 6 months, following a determination that he had been practicing without a license, and falsely represented himself as a licensed attorney.   In the matter of Peter Larkowich, a Massachusetts attorney was administratively suspended for failing to pay his dues to the Massachusetts bar.  He did not apply to be reinstated, nor did he notify his clients of his suspension, or withdraw from his current cases. Continue reading