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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2006-003

IN RE: MICHAEL R. LEVIN

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Spina on January 26, 2006, with an effective date of February 25, 2006.1

SUMMARY2

On July 17, 2003, Eric L. Levine was suspended from the practice of law for a period of two years. Matter of Levine, 19 Mass. Att’y Disc. R 239 (2003). At the time, Levine was a principal at Closing Tek, LLC, a limited liability company that Levine had previously formed to provide legal real estate services to lenders, including acting as settlement agent for residential real estate closings. Levine had sole signatory authority over all of Closing Tek’s bank accounts.

By 2003, the respondent had known Levine for almost 20 years. The respondent knew that Levine had been suspended from the practice of law in July 2003, and that Levine was a principal of Closing Tek, which conducted residential real estate closings for lenders.

In October 2003, Levine asked the respondent to appear as an attorney at residential real estate closings where Closing Tek would be the settlement agent. Levine told the respondent that Closing Tek would provide the respondent with a completed “closing package”, including the HUD-1 settlement statement, and that the respondent’s sole responsibility would be to attend the closings and oversee the execution of the closing documents in return for payment of $600.00 for each closing

The respondent knew that Levine was a23 principal of Closing Tek; was the only attorney, other than the respondent, affiliated with Closing Tek; and that Levine was providing advice and opinions to Closing Tek’s clients regarding the legal effect of the documents that were being signed at the closings even though he was suspended. The respondent also knew that Levine controlled the bank account from which the closing proceeds would be disbursed. Nevertheless, the respondent agreed to Levine’s proposal.

From October 2003 to February 2004, the respondent appeared for Closing Tek at approximately sixty closings where Closing Tek was the settlement agent for the transaction. The checks the respondent received for attending the closings were signed by Levine and were drawn on accounts maintained by Closing Tek.

In March 2004, bar counsel contacted the respondent concerning Levine’s conduct in handling real estate transactions in violation of the order of suspension. The respondent immediately terminated his involvement with Levine and Closing Tek. On April 15, 2004, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County found Levine in contempt of the order of suspension for, among other things, using Closing Tek to continue to provide his former clients with legal services. Matter of Levine, 20 Mass. Att’y Disc. R 311 (2004).

The respondent’s conduct in assisting Levine in the unauthorized practice of law and assisting Levine in violating the order of suspension violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 5.5(b) (lawyer shall not assist a person who is not a member of the bar in conduct that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law) and C. 8.4 (d) and (h), lawyer shall not engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and conduct adversely reflecting on her fitness to practice law)

On January 4, 2006, the parties submitted a stipulation to the Board of Bar Overseers. The parties recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for six months. On January 9, 2006, the Board of Bar Overseers voted to accept the stipulation of the parties and recommend that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for six months

On January 26, 2006, the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County ordered that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for six months.

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 on the record submitted to the Supreme Judicial Court.



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