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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2008-086


S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension/Suspended entered by Justice Botsford on September 29, 2008.1


On February 26, 2008, the respondent John J. Cronin III was suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire for six months, all of which was stayed for two years subject to conditions that the respondent take and pass the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) within one year, submit his financial records to random audits, and reimburse the Professional Conduct Committee of the New Hampshire Supreme Court for the costs of investigation and prosecution. The misconduct giving rise to this sanction is as follows.

During an audit of the respondentís trust account, a staff auditor for the Attorney Discipline Office of New Hampshire discovered that the respondent as a matter of practice deposited retainers paid for services to his operating account prior to earning those retainers in full. The retainers remained in the operating account, and the respondent returned the unearned portion of the retainers and otherwise properly accounted to the clients at the conclusion of the case. The respondentís failure to deposit the retainers to a trust account violated Rule 1.15(a) of the New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct.

The respondent also committed additional misconduct in handling a domestic relations case and the execution of a will. In the domestic relations case, the respondent kept a check for $23,866 representing disputed funds in the matter in his office for three weeks before depositing the check to an interest-bearing account. In the matter involving the will, the respondent signed the clientís will as a witness and left his office prior to the clientís appearance at the office and execution of the will in front of the other witnesses. The respondentís conduct in the first matter violated New Hampshire Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15(a) and, in the will matter, Rule 8.4(c).

The respondent failed to report the suspended suspension to the Office of Bar Counsel. On September 4, 2008, bar counsel filed a petition for reciprocal discipline in the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County. Subsequently, the parties waived hearing and assented to an order of reciprocal discipline, which was entered on September 29, 2008.


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 filed with the Supreme Judicial Court.

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