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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-97-068


S.J.C. Order of Reinstatement entered by Justice Greaney on March 26, 2003 1


I. Introduction

The Petitioner, Laurie A. Parrott, was suspended from the practice of law on August 27, 1998 for one year retroactive to January 22, 1998. She has been eligible to Petition for Reinstatement since January 23, 1999. The Petitioner filed a Petition for Reinstatement on February 21, 2002, and her reinstatement questionnaire on February 19, 2002. A hearing was held on the Petition on May 13, 2002, before a Panel consisting of Mark I. Berson (Chair), Janet Kenton-Walker, and Bettie H. Kornegay. The Panel heard testimony from the Petitioner and two witnesses. The Panel received into evidence various exhibits. Bar Counsel has informed the Panel that he does not oppose the Petition. In consideration of the testimony and exhibits, the Panel recommends that the Petition be allowed with certain considerations.

II. Facts

A. Disciplinary Background and Prior Proceedings

Petitioner graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1965. She graduated from Boston University Law School in 1992, and was admitted to the Bar in December 1992. While employed as an Associate with a law firm, she volunteered as a supervising attorney at a legal service program. Petitioner acted as a student attorney’s supervising attorney in a domestic relations matter before the Bristol Probate and Family Court. Petitioner filed an appearance in a case and appeared at the motion session without her client. She negotiated on his behalf with regards to certain matters and thereafter entered into a written Stipulation, which she signed as his counsel. On inquiry by the Court, the Petitioner stated she had authority to enter into the Stipulation on June 16, 1997. On July 27, 1997 at a hearing to vacate the Stipulation, the Petitioner testified that she did not have her client’s authority to negotiate the matter, nor did she have the authority to enter into the Stipulation. The Court vacated the Stipulation. The Petitioner thereafter was administratively suspended for failing to respond to Bar Counsel's inquiries. On December 8, 1997, the Board issued a subpoena for Petitioner to appear at the office of Bar Counsel on December 17, 1997. The Petitioner failed to appear. On December 30, 1997, upon a petition for enforcement of the subpoena, and a subsequent order of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Petitioner appeared on January 22, 1998, at the Office of Bar Counsel.

The Petitioner and Bar Counsel entered into a stipulation of facts and disciplinary violations, and upon a joint recommendation, the Board accepted the stipulation and Petitioner was suspended for one year. Subsequent to suspension, Petitioner was unemployed from September 1997 through January 1998. On December 1, 1998, she commenced employment with Taxware International. Taxware develops software products that calculate sales and use taxes. In May of 2000, Taxware International inquired of the Board of Bar Overseers expressing concern that its employment of the Petitioner violated the rules of professional conduct because it had employed an attorney who was not in good standing. Petitioner denied that she held herself out as an attorney. Upon review by Bar Counsel, the parties agreed that if Bar Counsel refrained from a disciplinary or contempt proceedings, Petitioner would not request reinstatement until May, 2001.

Petitioner has attended various Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education programs, such as the Basic Skills course and the Basic Estate Planning course. She has also attended courses on Estate Planning and Advanced Sales/Use Tax Seminars. If she is reinstated, she intends to practice in the areas of sales and use taxation. The Petitioner has no plans to practice law alone, or in partnership with other attorneys. She intends to remain associated with her father, Charles R. Parrott, Esquire, who acted as her attorney at the reinstatement hearing.

The Petitioner regularly supports the Alumni Association of Boston University

Law School and contributes to various charities. She assists her family and her husband, who suffers from a disability.

During the Petitioner’s testimony before the Panel, she was unable to explain or articulate the reasons that she had lied to the Court.

The Petitioner appears to have the support of her family, and indicated that she intends to rely on her father for support and for mentoring.

The Petitioner is capable of doing tax-related research and other legal research.

III. Conclusions

Petitioner has the burden of proving that she has the moral qualifications required for admission to practice; that she has the competency and learning in law required for admission; and that her resumption of practice will not be detrimental to the integrity or standings of the Bar, the administration of justice or the public interest. S.J.C. rule 4:01, § 18(5); Matter of Cappiello, 416 Mass 340, 9 Mass. Atty. Disc. R. 47 (1993); Matter of Waitz, 416 Mass 298, 9 Mass Atty. Disc. R. 356 (1993). In evaluating a petitioner for reinstatement, the trial test must be the public welfare. Matter of Waitz, supra.

The Petitioner’s inability to articulate or otherwise explain the reasons she lied to the Probate and Family Court on June 16, 1997, gives the Panel pause. Although the Petitioner testified that she lost the first case she had tried and was stressed with the work load demanded by her law firm, it is difficult to comprehend how these events drove the Petitioner to the misrepresentations she presented to the Court. She has not sought professional assistance to resolve the cause of such behavior. In the Panel’s view, such professional assistance is necessary.

IV. Recommendation

For the foregoing reasons, the Panel recommends that the Petitioner be reinstated to the Bar of the Commonwealth with the following special conditions:

1. That she submit to a comprehensive psychological evaluation by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist no later than 60 days after the order of reinstatement.

2. That the Petitioner submit to psychological testing, as directed by the psychologist or psychiatrist.

3. That the Petitioner execute in favor of the psychologist or psychiatrist, whatever releases or authorizations the psychologist or psychiatrist determines are needed to obtain the healthcare or mental health records of the Petitioner.

4. If the psychologist or psychiatrist determines that in his or her professional judgment the Petitioner would benefit from a course of treatment, the Petitioner shall cooperate with such treatment.

5. The course of treatment shall be directed at providing the Petitioner with the ability to gain insight into the reasons she lied to the court.

6. The psychologist or psychiatrist shall provide Bar Counsel with quarterly reports as to the progress of the Petitioner on the treatment provided.

7. The treatment shall continue for a period of two (2) years from the date of reinstatement, except that it may be terminated prior to that date upon the psychologist’s or psychiatrist’s recommendation.

8. Bar Counsel shall approve the psychologist or psychiatrist, and such approval shall not be unreasonably withheld.

9. The Petitioner shall pay the expense for the evaluation, testing and treatment.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark I. Berson, Chair
Bettie H. Kornegay
Janet Kenton-Walker

Dated: October 16, 2002

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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