Mass.Gov home  home get things done agencies Search Mass.Gov

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2007-062


S.J.C. Order of Temporary Suspension entered by Justice Cordy on April 14, 2008.1


The issue in this case is somewhat novel. Bar counsel seeks an order temporarily suspending the respondent attorney from the practice of law in Massachusetts, as reciprocal discipline under S.J.C. Rule 4:01, § 16 (1). The State in which an order of discipline has been imposed is New Hampshire. The discipline imposed was a temporary suspension of the respondent's license to practice law pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings in the District of Columbia. In those proceedings, the District of Columbia Board of Responsibility had endorsed a hearing committee report finding that the respondent had converted $241,336.59 of client funds to his own use, and recommending disbarment. That report and recommendation is now pending before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (Court of Appeals) for decision. The respondent was not temporarily suspended in the District of Columbia pending the outcome of those disciplinary proceedings.

Notwithstanding that the Court of Appeals had apparently determined not to temporarily suspend the respondent, the New Hampshire Supreme Court imposed such a suspension after a hearing and after reviewing the transcript of the proceedings in the District of Columbia. As noted, the basis of bar counsel's motion here is not the underlying disciplinary proceeding but the New Hampshire temporary suspension pending the final outcome of that proceeding.

In this respect, the matter is postured somewhat differently than the circumstances addressed in Matter of Lebbos, 407 Mass. 1010 (1998), where this court suspended an attorney pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings in California, where the California Supreme Court had also imposed a temporary suspension pending its outcome. We concluded that "[a] final adjudication made elsewhere that circumstances warrant a temporary suspension may properly be the basis for a reciprocal order of temporary suspension here, particularly when the Supreme Court of that jurisdiction has upheld that order."

The novelty here, of course, being that the District of Columbia (the equivalent of the California Supreme Court in Matter of Lebbos, supra), has not seen fit to temporarily suspend the attorney, pending what appears to be a vigorous challenge by this respondent to the findings and recommendations made by the disciplinary board in that jurisdiction.2

While I have delayed ruling in this case, in the anticipation of a ruling from the Court of Appeals, the parties have reported that it has not been forthcoming. I will not delay further.

The motion of bar counsel is granted. Although the facts are not identical, the language and reasoning the court used in Matter of Lebbos, supra, seems to me to be applicable in the circumstances of this case where the New Hampshire Supreme Court has imposed a temporary suspension after holding a hearing and reviewing the transcripts of the evidentiary hearing before its hearing committee. Reciprocal discipline is, accordingly, appropriately sought here.

The respondent is temporarily suspended from the practice of law in Massachusetts pending the final outcome of the disciplinary action against him in the Court of Appeals.


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

2 The respondent has filed with the Single Justice a copy of the Exceptions and Objections he filed in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

BBO/OBC Privacy Policy. Please direct all questions to
© 2005. Board of Bar Overseers. Office of Bar Counsel. All rights reserved.