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


Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-97-012

IN RE: RALPH R. JOYCE, JR.

S.J.C. Order of Reinstatement entered by Justice Ireland on November 17, 1999.1

HEARING PANEL'S FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

I.. INTRODUCTION.

On June 26, 1997, the Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for one year effective thirty (30) days from the date of entry of the order (July 25, 1997). At the time, Petitioner had been a member of the Bar for 22 years, with no prior discipline. (13 Mass. Attorney Discipline Reports, 304-305; Tr. P. 22, 27). The matter came before the Supreme Judicial Court on an agreed recommendation for suspension based on a stipulation of facts that the Petitioner had made certain oral and written misrepresentations to opposing counsel, to a third party, and to a court-appointed master. (Id.; Tr. P. 24-27). Prior to the order of suspension, the Petitioner made the Complainant whole for any harm allegedly caused by his misrepresentations. (Id.; Tr. P. 27).

Pursuant to Rules of the Board of Bar Overseers 3.62, the Petitioner submitted a completed reinstatement questionnaire to the Board on December 29, 1998. (Tr. P. 30). A hearing was held on June 14, 1999 before a Panel consisting of Richard M. Zielinski, Chair, John Mirick, Member and Naomi Gordon, Member. The Petitioner testified on his own behalf, and called two additional witnesses, Kenneth Rea and Mark S. DiSalvo. (Tr. P. 3). Two exhibits were introduced.

II. FINDINGS.

Pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01, §18(6), the Petitioner has the "burden of demonstrating that he or she has the moral qualifications, competency and learning in law required for admission to practice law in this Commonwealth, and that his or her resumption of the practice of law will not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the bar, the administration of justice, or to the public interest."

We credit Mr. Rea's testimony that he had been a client of the Petitioner for 10 years prior to his suspension, and that he found Petitioner to be a competent, ethical attorney whom he trusted. We further credit Mr. Rea's testimony that the Petitioner was completely forthright with him regarding his suspension from the practice of law, and that he would retain the Petitioner in the future, if reinstated. (Tr. P. 8-12).

We credit the testimony of Mark S. DiSalvo that he has known the Petitioner for 25 years through their public service to the Town of Andover, and was a member of the committee which chose the Petitioner to serve as Town Counsel. (Tr. P. 14-15). We further credit the testimony of Mr. DiSalvo that the Petitioner had represented him in business and personal matters in a competent, professional and ethical manner, and that he would retain the Petitioner in the future, if reinstated.

The Petitioner gave notice of his suspension to all active clients pursuant to the order of suspension, and fulfilled all other requirements of the order of suspension. (Tr. P. 27-28).

The Petitioner has kept current with the law during the term of his suspension. (Tr. P.29); has enrolled in a course on professional conduct (Tr. p. 29) and has maintained his malpractice insurance. (Tr. p. 29-30).

Bar counsel does not oppose the petition for reinstatement. (Tr. p. 37).

III.. RECOMMENDATION.

The Petitioner has demonstrated that he has the moral qualifications, competency and learning in the law required to resume the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and has demonstrated that his resumption of the practice of law shall not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the Bar, the administration of justice or to the public interest.

The Hearing Panel recommends that the Petitioner be reinstated, upon condition that he take a CLE refresher course on estate administration approved by Bar Counsel if he intends to resume his practice in that area of the law.

THE HEARING PANEL

Richard M. Zielinski
John O. Mirick
Naomi Gordon

Dated: September 3, 1999

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



BBO/OBC Privacy Policy. Please direct all questions to webmaster@massbbo.org.
© 2003. Board of Bar Overseers. Office of Bar Counsel. All rights reserved.