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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

No- BD 2001-008


S.J.C. Order (Disbarment) entered by Justice Spina on May 9, 2002. 1


Bar counsel filed a petition for reciprocal discipline of the respondent, Robert F. DiPippo, who was disbarred by the Supreme Court of Rhode Island on February 9, 2001, for various infractions of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. The gravamen of his misconduct involved the conversion of client funds. The Supreme Court of Rhode Island noted in its decision that the respondent's conduct was "intentional and wilful," and that he was "no stranger to the disciplinary process." In the Matter of DiPippo, 765 A.2d 1219, 1221 (RI 2001). The respondent previously had been suspended from the practice of law for a period of three years for conversion of client funds in an unrelated matter. See In the Matter of DiPippo, 745 A.2d 736 (RI 2000). Before that he had been suspended for three months for engaging in sexual relations with a client while representing her in a divorce action, and for providing false information to a credit union to assist that client in procuring a mortgage to finance the purchase of a home. See In the Matter of DiPippo, 678 A.2d 454 (RI 1996).

An order of notice issued on February 21, 2001, pursuant to SJC Rule 4:01, § 16(1), as appearing in 425 Mass. 1319 (1997), directing the respondent to show cause why imposition of the identical discipline in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would be unwarranted. A hearing was scheduled for June 13, 2001, but was continued at the request of the respondent who claimed that he was incapacitated due to a medical condition. The matter was rescheduled for a hearing on April 17, 2002. The respondent was permitted to participate by telephone, to accommodate his medical condition.

We accord deference to the decision of other States in matters of reciprocal discipline. See In the Matter of Watt, 430 Mass. 232, 236 (1999). In the absence of any special mitigating circumstances, the intentional use of client funds may require disbarment or indefinite suspension. See In the Matter of Schoepfer, 426 Mass. 183, 187 (1997). Here, there are no mitigating circumstances. In aggravation the respondent has offended on pnior occasions, and on one such occasion received reciprocal discipline (three-month suspension) in the Commonwealth. See In Re: Robert F. DiPippo, 12 Mass. Atty. Disc. R. 89 (1996). Disbarment is appropriate.

An order of disbarment is to issue.

By the Court,

Francis X. Spina
Associate Justice

ENTERED: May 9, 2002

1 The complete Order of the Court is available by contacting the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.

2 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record before the Court.

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