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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2002-061


S.J.C. Order Denying Petition For Reinstatement entered by Justice Botsford on June 29, 2009.1


On April 18, 2008, the petitioner, William H. Shaughnessy, filed a petition for reinstatement, following his suspension for a year and two days effective June 30, 2005. By vote dated April 13, 2009, the Board of Bar Overseers (board) has recommended that the petition be denied. For the reasons explained below, I accept the board's recommendation.

1. This matter has a long history. The petitioner was originally suspended for a period of six months and one day in 2003, based on findings that he had neglected a client matter and engaged in misrepresentations to the client, his co-counsel, and successor counsel. See Matter of Shaughnessy, 442 Mass. 1012 (2004). Pursuant to SJC Rule 4:01, § 17 (8), the petitioner was suspended for an additional one year and two days on June 30, 2005. This was the date of a judgment of a single justice, adjudicating the petitioner in contempt of the original suspension order based on the finding that the petitioner had represented two clients during the period of his original suspension. This second suspension was ordered. See Matter of Shaughnessy, 446 Mass. 1013,1013-1014 (2006).

Following his filing the petition for reinstatement, a hearing panel of the board conducted a hearing on the petitioner's petition in the summer of 2008, and issued a report recommending that the petition for reinstatement be denied but without prejudice to the petitioner's filing a new petition after June 30, 2009, six months after the issuance of the panel's report. The petitioner did not appeal to the board from the hearing panel report. Bar counsel filed a limited appeal, contesting only the panel's determination that the petitioner be permitted to reapply for reinstatement after six months rather than the year called for in S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 18 (8). The board voted to adopt the hearing panel's findings of fact and recommendation of denial, but rejected the recommendation that the petitioner be permitted to file a new petition for reinstatement before one year. Following the filing of the board's recommendation in the county court, see rule 4:01, § 18 (5), the petitioner, represented by new counsel, filed, late, an appeal.

2. Under the board's rules, "[a] party will be conclusively deemed to have waived all objections to the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the ... hearing panel..." unless the party files a brief on appeal from the hearing panel's report within twenty days of receiving that report. Rules of the Board of Bar Overseers, § 3.50 (a), (c). Because the petitioner did not appeal from the hearing panel's report, I consider the panel's findings, as adopted by the board, to be established. Cf. Matter of Shaughnessy, 446 Mass, at 1013 (where respondent did not contest factual allegations in, or evidence supporting, allegations in bar counsel's petition for contempt, court treated allegations as factually established). Based on the evidence before it, the hearing panel found that the petitioner failed to meet his burden of showing that he had "the moral qualifications, competency and learning in the law required for admission," S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 18 (5), and, as just stated, I accept these findings. Accordingly, the petition for reinstatement should be denied.

In his appeal to this court, the petitioner requests that as single justice, I terminate his suspension immediately, noting that at this point, he has been suspended far, far longer than the orders of suspension called for. The petitioner supports this request by reference to S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 12A. As bar counsel accurately points out, however, rule 12A - which states in part, "[i]n the interest of justice, the court, upon application of the lawyer, may terminate such suspension at any time after affording the bar counsel an opportunity to be heard" - applies only to temporary suspensions that are ordered pending final disposition of a disciplinary hearing. This rule does not apply to the petitioner in the posture of this case. I am not aware of any provision in our rules that would permit me to order an immediate termination of the petitioner's suspension, and in any event, the record before me would not support such an order.


For the foregoing reasons, a judgment is to enter denying the petition for reinstatement. Pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 18 (8), the petitioner may reapply for reinstatement after one year following the date of this judgment.


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

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