Friday, September 3, 2010

How not to practice law: continue to practice during your suspension

As with pretty much every single other entry in the on-going "how not to practice law" series, all we can say is "duh!"

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin is reporting today that a disciplinary panel has decided to suspend a Chicago attorney for nine months because he continued to practice law while his license was suspended during 2008.

The lawyer was careful not to go to his office and did not meet with clients, but he hired a young associate who had recently been admitted to the Illinois bar to do the work. The lawyer continued to work "behind the scenes." He contacted the associate and his secretary many times daily, gave instructions, helped with the preparation of the cases, and drafted documents and letters that the associate later signed.

As an aside, did anyone notice that the guy's license was suspended to begin with? I don't know what he did the first time that got him suspended but, let's face it, this is now his second suspension (assuming there are no others). So let's review: The lawyer did something that warranted a suspension. Then he decides to disregard the suspension and continues with his practice, gets caught and admits to the authorities that he had engaged in unauthorized practice of law.... and now he is just suspended again? Why wasn't he disbarred?

And, as a second aside, what about the "young associate"? I am sorry for her, but it should have been pretty obvious to her that she was helping a person practice law in violation of the rules. She should have rejected the job offer. Now she should be disciplined too.

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