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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2001-031


S.J.C. Order of Indefinite Suspension entered by Justice Ireland on September 28, 2001.1


On February 7, 2001, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Fourth Judicial Department, entered an order suspending the respondent from the practice of law in New York for two years and until further order of the court. In its per curiam opinion, the court found that the respondent converted estate funds in violation of DR 1-102(A)(4) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation), DR 1-102(A)(7) (engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on fitness to practice law), DR 9-102(a) (misappropriating client funds), and DR 9-102(b)(1) (commingling client funds with personal or business funds). Due to matters raised in mitigation, including that the respondent had made restitution, the court ordered a two-year suspension. Matter of Ladas, 280 A.D.2d 202, 720 N.Y.S.2d 883 (4th Dept. 2001).

In violation of the requirements of S. J. C. Rule 4:01, § 16(6), the respondent failed to notify bar counsel of the suspension order within ten days of its entry. On May 23, 2001, bar counsel filed a petition for reciprocal discipline in the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.

Bar counsel’s petition requested that an indefinite suspension from the practice of law rather than a two-year suspension be imposed. Attached to the petition was the record before the New York court showing that the respondent had intentionally used estate funds to defray the expenses of a restaurant he owned and that he had repaid the estate after his misappropriation had been brought to the attention of disciplinary authorities in New York. The mitigation considered in New York—that the respondent was under financial pressures and had made restitution—did not call for departure from the presumptive sanction of indefinite suspension established by the Supreme Judicial Court in Matter of the Discipline of an Attorney and Two Companion Cases, 392 Mass. 827 (1984), and Matter of Schoepfer, 426 Mass. 183 (1997).

On June 1, 2001, bar counsel served on the respondent the petition and an order issued by the county court that he show cause within thirty days why an indefinite suspension should not be imposed. The respondent did not file any response with the court. On September 14, 2001, after due notice to the respondent, the county court held a hearing on bar counsel’s petition for reciprocal discipline. The respondent did not appear at this hearing. On September 28, 2001, the county court entered an order immediately indefinitely suspending the respondent from the practice of law in Massachusetts.

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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